Hey Alexa, you are a failure

And that’s really sad… Nah, it isn’t.

Hey Alexa, you are a failure /img/privacy-meme-people-in-the-sixties-vs-alexa.jpg

Amazon is going through the biggest layoffs in its history right now, and the main target is the Amazon Alexa voice assistant unit, which is apparently falling out of favor at the e-commerce giant.

Why THEY say it failed

Alexa is being “restructured” because it never managed to make money for Amazon, since while Alexa’s Echo line is among the “best-selling items on Amazon, most of the devices sold at cost." As a result, Alexa lost $3 billion in just the first quarter of 2022, is “on pace to lose $10 billion this year” and, after years of trying, there are still no ideas on how this situation may change, since most interactions with Alexa remain non-monetizable stuff like “Alexa, turn the lights off”.

May it be because…

Some reasons why Alexa failed are easy to see. More likely than not, many people have realized that, for example:

Personally, without denying all those factors, I suspect that the first reasons of this failure lie at a deeper level, that isn’t even really related to online privacy or anything like that.

One is that, apparently, Alexa’s business model was to make money when people used it to “buy things on Amazon via their voice”. But in hindsight, it’s really hard to imagine how enough people would buy any dress, or most other goods for that matter, online, but merely by voice, that is without even looking at a thumbnail first.

The other issue is even more general. Regardless of shopping and monetization, omnipresent, general purpose voice interfaces like Alexa may be really always usable only by people who live alone, when they are alone. Not by families, that is wherever it is the rule, not the exception, to have more than one person speaking at the same time. Or to deliberately avoid unnecessary “noises” to avoid waking up or otherwise disturbing others:

Hey Alexa, you are a failure /img/alexa-meme.jpg

With any luck…

If Alexa will really stop working, many people may finally realize for the first time how much of what they “own” isn’t theirs at all. Especially if, since the Google Assistant seems to have the same problems, the same thing happened to all “Big Tech” voice assistants.