Alexa Business Model About More Than Shopping Revenue

Amazon’s CEO dismisses the notion that Alexa is all about cashing in on an ever present, voice-activated shopping app, we’re told in Yahoo’s article, “Jeff Bezos Says We Have it All Wrong About Amazon’s Alexa.” Bezos asserts their priority is to explore the potentials of voice– playing music, controlling appliances, etc. Writer Matt Weinberger observes:

As people build more ‘skills’ for Alexa, they’re still working out how and where it can be useful. … Still, Bezos’ comments shake up the conventional wisdom on Alexa’s role in Amazon’s grand strategy.

As Bezos notes, (unless reordering) shopping really requires some sort of screen. Our question: is he sincere, or attempting to misdirect the competition? There are rumors Echo may be about to grow a touch screen.

Cynthia Murrell, March 2, 2017

A Nosy Butler for You

Amazon’s Alexa is yet to make any money, but it surely is assimilating humongous amount of Big Data of its customers, and probably is eavesdropping more than you expected.

CNET in an article titled Alexa Will Talk You into Loving Amazon says:

Amazon isn’t seeing any profit from Alexa or the Echo smart speaker that houses the virtual butler because the company keeps plowing massive investments into the voice software.

This is not surprising for a company like Amazon as the primary intent of Alexa was never meant to be a private virtual assistant. The aim was to turn users of Alexa into loyal customers that will help Amazon sell more. In the process, Amazon also collects a lot of personal information about the user, which the company ultimately will use for various purposes.

Technically, Amazon Echo powered by Alexa is a smart device, and it would not take dubious actors to figure out that it easily can be turned into a listening post. As a matter of fact, it would become even easier for people with right skill sets to start listening to your private conversations without bothering about placing listening devices or mobile vans outside your home.

As Michael R. Levin, C-Founder, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners says in the article:

Amazon’s real goal, is introducing you to Alexa and placing her in as many places in your life as possible. That’s assuming you’re not weirded out by having microphones around you that are always listening for the word Alexa.

Companies like Vizio have already been fined for collecting customer information illegally through their smart TVs. Amazon is not far behind. However, how far the rot goes, only time can tell.

Vishal Ingole, February 28, 2017