What’s with Alexa’s Spaghetti Strategy?

Last week, in the span of about an hour, introduced 70 new devices and services to an inundated tech press at its Seattle headquarters. It felt a little like the ecommerce giant was throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. And “now you can reheat the spaghetti in an Alexa-powered microwave,” quipped my colleague Alistair on Twitter.

But this is Amazon, and there’s usually a method behind the madness.

Amazon is racing the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft to position its technology at the center of our Jetsons-like home of the future, where everything from the washing machine to the thermostat can be controlled with voice commands.

This strategy, aimed at both companies and consumers, evoked some gruesome memories of trudging to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There, companies like Cisco Systems, IBM, Sony and Microsoft would show off their idea of a smart home.

One reason is that those companies mainly wanted to licence their home networking specifications to appliance makers and make money from sharing in product sales.

Amazon, by contrast, is licensing Alexa basically for free. Its business revolves not around licensing proprietary technology to companies, or even really selling gizmos to customers, but getting devices into people’s homes that will serve as gateways to its massive online store, and to services.


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