It’s been a while since we’ve had a good, old-fashioned, knock-down, drag-out, winner-take-all platform war. But one might be brewing right now in the world of intelligent assistants.
As in any platform war, the numbers come out front and center, and Amazon has the lead on many of those numbers: more than 150 products with Alexa built in, more than 28,000 smart home devices that work with Alexa made by more than 4,500 different manufacturers, and over 70,000 Alexa skills.
How Amazon got to those numbers is a lot more interesting than the numbers themselves. Amazon’s strategy for Alexa reveals a fundamental philosophy: speak softly and empower everyone to just ship.
Is this really a platform war? Limp, a veteran of Amazon who started out building the Kindle, doesn’t seem to think so — or at least, he believes that it will play out differently from platform wars of the past. “I don’t think it falls into a sporting event,” Limp says, “where there’s going to be one winner.” He adds, “There will be multiple players for the foreseeable future. I don’t think it’s only going to be only two, either. I think there will be more than that.”
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