Amazon: Where Does It Get AI Technology?

March 26, 2021

I saw an interesting table from Global Data Financial Deals Database. What’s interesting is that Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft were active purchasers of AI companies. I understand that “taking something off the table” is a sound business tactic. Even if the AI technology embodied in a takeover is wonky, a competitor cannot take advantage of the insights or the people in a particular firm.

I found the inclusion of Accenture in the table interesting. The line between “consulting” and “smart software” seems to be permeable. One wonders how other big dog consulting firms will address what appears to be their smart software gaps. I have long believed that blue chip consulting firms were 21st century publishing companies. The combination of renting smart people and providing smart technology to clients is the type of amalgamation which appears to meet certain needs of Fortune 1000 firms and major government entities and some non governmental organizations.

What jumped out at me as I looked at the data and scanned the comments about it was the absence or failure to include one key question:

What’s Amazon doing to get its artificial intelligence technology?

Buying AI technology to leverage it or take it away from competitors is one method. Has Amazon found another way? Which approach is “better” in terms of intellectual property and real world applications?

I will address this question and a couple of other equally obscure facts about what may be one of the smartest companies in the world in my lecture at the upcoming 2021 National Cyber Crime Conference.

Buying AI capabilities is, it seems, the go to method for some high profile outfits. But is it the only path to smart software? No, it is not.

Stephen E Arnold, March 26, 2021


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