First, Alexa and the Echo speakers came to market for a single reason only: To provide Amazon’s customers with yet another way to easily make purchases from its online store.
Second, while Amazon does currently lead in the market for smart speakers, Google is very quickly catching up. And I still expect Google to surpass Amazon, perhaps as soon as by the end of 2018.
Not being able to monetize Echo and Alexa is a problem. And it’s going to be a problem for Google, too. In that case, the online search giant will attempt to leverage its own Google Home/Google Assistant user base with, yep, you guessed it, advertising. Something that Google has publicly stated is coming to the platform.
I’ve seen this first hand at my sister’s — she & her husband add items to the shopping list only to shop at an actual brick-and-mortar store (the horror!). Even when they buy from Amazon they fire up a web browser on their laptop and don’t use their Echo at all. Mostly, they use it for music and for the occasional trivia question.
This cannot be what Amazon hoped for when they released this beast.