The Alexa Tax

Amazon Echo

Jeff Bezos at Recode Conference on the two SDK’s for Alexa:

We expose two different SDK’s for Alexa. One is the Alexa Voice Service which lets you through a set of APIs embed Alexa in your own device or app and do with it what you want. So you could make an alarm clock and you could embed Alexa Voice Service in it. And then we have the Alexa Skill Kit which lets you teach Alexa new skills, and those two things work together.

Ben Thompson at Stratechery (paywall):

The Echo is simply the first best customer of Alexa, just as Amazon’s online site is the first best customer of AWS. The longterm goal is obviously to have Alexa everywhere with Amazon skimming off some sort of fee for the right — it really is another tax! And, like all their other businesses that get better with scale, Alexa — as is the case for all of these machine-learning based assistants — will only get better the bigger and more widespread it is.

Also read Thompsons “The Amazon Tax” from two months ago, or start with my summary.

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