Amazon: Device Proliferation and One Interesting Use Case

September 21, 2018

The technology “real news” channels are stuffed with Amazon gizmo news. Interesting stuff if one considers that these devices may snap into the eCommerce company’s policeware subsystems.

Here in Harrod’s Creek, we noted one announcement almost lost in the flood of device announcements. “Skype Calling Coming to Amazon Alexa Devices Later This Year” indicates that the tension between the two companies may be lessening. Years ago Microsoft had database envy generated by the eCommerce giant’s innovations in data management and data wrangling. Then there were the skirmishes over staff and office space.

If the information in the ZDNet “real news” write up is accurate, this statement may be more interesting than using an Alexa gizmo as a telephone:

Alexa users will be able to make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls and make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world, according to Microsoft officials. Users will be able to say “Alexa, call Jimmy on Skype,” or to say “Alexa, answer” when a Skype call comes in.

But the “real news” continues with an admission from the author:

I have to admit at this point I am kind of lost as to how Microsoft hopes to differentiate and position Cortana. Granted, Microsoft execs said they want Cortana not to be just about convenience, but about built-in assistance, but Skype is a Microsoft service….

From my vantage point in Harrod’s Creek, the tie up in voice may be more than a test. In fact, the deal may signal another victim of the Amazon strategy. Microsoft may be losing without knowing that it is in a fight.

Stephen E Arnold, September 21, 2018

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