Cortana no Longer an Alexa or Google Home Competitor

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Google Home smart speaker

Microsoft no longer sees its Cortana digital assistant as a competitor to the more popular Alexa and Google Home. The company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, said that it should be further integrated with its rivals’ platforms instead, The Verge reported. Microsoft and Amazon already partnered for some Cortana/Alexa integration, and this is clearly where Microsoft intends to take the product next – more of an app or service across multiple platforms, not hardware to be sold.

CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Microsoft no longer sees Cortana as a competitor to Alexa or Google Assistant. “Cortana needs to be that skill for anybody who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber,” explains Nadella, referencing Microsoft’s new consumer subscription push. “You should be able to use it on Google Assistant, you should be able to use it on Alexa, just like how you use our apps on Android and iOS so that’s at least how we want to think about where it’ll go.”

Chinese Think-Tank Blasts Apple's Taiwan and Hong Kong References

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Apple China flag

A Chinese think-tank criticized Apple, Amazon and a number of other firms for the way they reference Taiwan and Hong Kong, Reuters reported. Tawain is considered a wayward-province by China. Hong Kong was returned to China by the British in 1997 and is a semi-autonomous region. Apple is amongst a number of firms that refers to both Hong Kong and Tawain as separate from mainland China, something the Chinese government has been trying to crack down on recently.

China last year ramped up pressure on foreign companies including Marriott International and Qantas for referring to Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate from China in drop down menus or other material. The report was co-written by [Chinese Academy of Social Sciences] CASS and the Internet Development Research Institution of Peking University. An official at the Internet Development Research Institution told Reuters that it had not yet been published to the public and declined to provide a copy.

Apple's Public Billboard at CES: 'What Happens on Your iPhone, Stays on Your iPhone'

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What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone

I heart this so much. There aren’t enough emojis in the world to describe how much I love Apple’s giant message to CES: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It’s on a massive outdoor sign hanging on the side of a ::checks notes:: Marriott…wait, is Apple trolling Marriott, too? Fitting, if so. Whatever, the target is ostensibly Google, Facebook, Amazon, Android, and the myriad of companies whose customers are the product. And that message is being delivered to CES in Las Vegas, a show Apple doesn’t bother to attend. Chris Velazco of Engadget tweeted the first image I could find (below), and Mashable‘s Adam Rosenberg pitched it as, “Apple spent money to publicly troll everyone else’s privacy issues at CES.” Again with the feels, Apple. Thanks for brightening my day.

Amazon Go Stores Could be Worth Over $4 Billion by 2021

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Amazon Go

Amazon Go could be a multi-billion dollar business for the retail giant, according to new figures reported by Re/Code. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets concluded that Amazon Go stores could earn 50% more than conventional stores. They found that the average store generates an estimated $1.5 million in revenue annually.  Amazon plans to open up to 3,000 stores over the next two years, meaning the business could be worth around $4.5 billion by 2021. However, each store requires a $1 million investment in hardware before it opens.

Amazon’s new cashless, cashierless stores — which allow customers to just grab items off shelves and automatically get charged upon exiting, thanks to a bevy of sensors and cameras — bring in about 50 percent more revenue on average than typical convenience stores, according to new estimates from RBC Capital Markets analysts.