Unlimited cash and an army of talented data scientists and engineers does not ensure AI success. This is especially true when the first mover and market leader (Google) has yet to remove its foot from the accelerator.
Microsoft recently stood down in the Voice Assistant wars. Cortana was never going to catch Google Assistant (Google remains the AI leader). It is difficult to overtake AI leaders given that AI leadership positions are won through usage. Usage in the voice assistant space is driven by speed and accuracy which ultimately is a function of usage. Virtuous circles – especially in scale markets – are a privilege bestowed upon well-capitalized first movers.
Amazon Alexa should remain a quality voice assistant given Amazon’s leadership position in product search (especially as more product queries move to voice) and growing adoption of Alexa-powered in-home devices. However, the real AI competition for Google is China Inc. given China’s enormous and growing data set of approximately 1.4 billion people.