Amazon releases closely guarded secret in surprise data-drop!
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Amazon releases closely guarded secret in surprise data-drop!

Here’s a quick question: how many devices has Amazon sold that contain its virtual personal assistant Alexa? Up until the weekend just gone, no one knew (well, except the powers that be at Amazon, who have remained tight-lipped for years). But now, the ecommerce giant has taken analysts and investors by surprise, finally releasing the long-awaited number. Here it is: since Alexa’s creation in 2014, Amazon has sold “100 million devices with Alexa on board,” According to the company’s senior vice president of devices and services, Dave Limp.

Over the first 7 days of 2019, Amazon’s share price has appreciated by 7%

graph 08 amazon

Source: Yahoo Finance

Is 100 million devices a good number to have sold? Or a bad one? Should investors be cheering or commiserating? This largely depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, 100 million is a far smaller number than that of smartphones and the like which have been shipped with Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant pre-installed. On the other hand, you can make a good case that, when people buy an Alexa-powered device (such as the Echo), they’re doing it specifically to interact with Alexa and enter the Amazon ecosystem. Most people who buy iPhones have never bothered using Siri.

In any case, the simple fact that Amazon has released the figure suggests the company is looking at it as a positive. We’ve wanted this figure for five years, and the only reason Amazon has to give it to us now is because it wants to. That strongly suggests it’s something Amazon thinks will win it plaudits – perhaps, after Apple’s horrific iPhone announcement last week, the company is eager to show that some devices are still in no shortage of demand.

Another thing that Amazon is keen to point out is that it doesn’t see the virtual personal assistant (VPA) space as being subject to a platform war. Limp said: “I don’t think it falls into a sporting event. where there’s going to be one winner. 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.

Still, Amazon is in an enviable position. There are more than 150 products that come with Alexa built in, and over 28,000 smart home devices that work with ‘her’. According to Limp: “I think we are by far the leader. Our data would suggest we’re way out ahead.”

With the Consumer Electronics Show starting today, expect Alexa to be making headlines for the rest of the week!

Disclosure

Dominion holds Amazon in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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