Are Microsoft and Apple too Late to the Smart Home Speaker Market A?

Each of these devices is powered by a virtual assistant and possesses the ability to check the weather, play music, read the news, and manage connected smart home devices. They can also provide assistance with credit card statements, schedule ride-hailing, or order a pizza. Each company has taken a slightly different approach, hoping to differentiate their product in what is quickly becoming a crowded field.

The smart speaker market didn’t exist until late 2014, with the debut of the Echo home smart speaker by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Since then, potential competitors have been scrambling to catch up. For the last several years, Amazon has had the market of voice-controlled wireless speakers to itself, but competition has recently ramped up. In November 2016, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) released the Google Home, and last month, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced its HomePod, which will be in stores in December. A number of smaller players will also be releasing competing device

Cortana everywhere
Microsoft has serious market share for its Cortana voice-activated virtual assistant when it comes to PCs, by virtue of its Windows operating system, but it loses any advantage in the mobile market to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, which together account for 99% of new smartphone sales. These run Google Assistant and Siri, respectively, which affords Microsoft very little chance to get a toehold in the market. Being tethered to the desktop isn’t doing the company any favors.

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