With Google Home launching in the UK recently, Amazon has stepped up the battle
by offering a chosen few manufacturers free access to its Alexa technology.
It is clear that the major competitive advantage in this space is ensuring you have as many devices being used as possible and open partnerships (which this isn’t) is one way to do so.
This is not dissimilar to the operating system battles of old. In the race for the desktop, Microsoft and Apple were the winners and in mobile phones, Google and Apple. Two clear winners in each. So who is going to win between Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung? Would you bet against Apple winning a third time?
It has been my view for a while that Microsoft needs to make a big decision and adopt Android as its base operating system in mobile and build on top of it. That would give it access to the wider Android space and give it a stronger position than it has today but even that may not be enough. In the home they have Xbox but it costs too much and is too niche. Its Cortana assistant is limited to the desktop which is a declining market in the home.
Google obviously already has Android and has been clever to go for the broadband router
which is a much cheaper entry point. If it partnered with Internet providers to distribute Google Home (with Wifi), it could outpace even Amazon. Whilst a clear favourite, Google is putting itself on the back foot if the advertising related stories continue
. No one wants their home assistant to be a sales assistant. Right now, Amazon is leaps ahead of the competition.