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Case Study Analysis: Voice War: Hey Google vs Alexa vs Siri

MBA-431- Strategic Management

Under the Guidance of

Asst Prof. Dilip Chandra S

1827715- Kalidindi Sai Varma
1827514- Indrajith K
1828145- Mansi
1828159- Diya Manoj
1828107- Bharath B A

Christ Institute of Management

CHRIST (Deemed To Be University), Bengaluru


By early 2018, voice-controlled intelligent assistants had become a major new front in the
battle between the giants of the technology sector. "Voice War" focuses on Alphabet’s
strategy for Google Assistant, its entrant in the voice assistant space, and asks how the voice
assistant should fit in with Alphabet's larger portfolio of products and services. While the
mobile phone was the major platform for Google Assistant, Alphabet had recently introduced
a range of smart home speakers to challenge first-mover Amazon’s Echo of devices, which
were powered by its intelligent assistant, Alexa. Google also faced competition from Apple,
whose intelligent assistant Siri had long been a staple of its mobile devices, but which
introduced a smart home speaker in early 2018. Other competitors included Microsoft and
Samsung, along with Chinese players Tencent, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.

Google's approach of obtaining businesses under its title had been completely believed
through over the next century. Some of the large merger with YouTube, Android and Nest
has been performed. As the item range expanded, the firm was restructured by Page and Brin
to offer the businesses their autonomous operating capacity. Page assumed the position of
CEO of Alphabet Inc. and appointed Google's CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai entered Google in
2004 on software products such as Chrome, Android and Gmail as portion of the product
management group. Sundar made a revolutionary leap in getting the position of CEO by
presenting a company-wide note of "shifting from the first phone to the first AI universe”. He
basically wished Google to be an essential component of natural existence in every family
and for every ordinary intent. He made a large leap in building up two distinct cloud
computing and equipment branches as Sundar wished Google to challenge the AI over any
other business on the industry. Some of the goods launched under the fresh software section
were pixel books, Google Speakers (mini & max), pixel phones, etc. All of these displayed
Google Assistant as portion of the device's introduction.

With the release of iPhone 4S, Apple was the first on the industry to release a voice activated
smart phone called Siri in October 2011. At first, an environment was preserved where only
apple goods were accessible until 2016. It later offered third-party apps access but with
limited inclusion identifiers for particular apps such as voice calling, vehicle processing, SMS
and query. As apple is known for the title of rigorous attitude to protect the privacy of
consumers and recorded marked information just six months before it is deleted. Apple's
capacity to use its information to assess and enhance its software updates was decreased with
this choice. Siri was the most commonly used speech attendant in 2017 with 41.1 million
customers in 36 nations with 21 nationalities. It was also recognized with a study that Siri
replied only 62.2% of the issues properly, while Google secretary Alexa and Cortana were all
over 80%.


a) Tight control over the actions approved by Google. Google voice assistant provided
closed ecosystem, where the actions asked by the users were controlled and only
certain were performed by the assistant.
b) Heavy Competition
1) Apple: Maintained a closed ecosystem making it premium for the apple users only.
Consumer privacy is well taken care of by the company.
2) Amazon: Alexa has its own API skills and tools so that third parties can create their
own set of skills as per the specific needs.
3) Microsoft: Cortana skills are getting increased tremendously day by day having
almost 305% growth in number of new skills developed.
4) Samsung: Bixby is an exclusive one for Samsung’s high end phones.
5) Voice Start-ups: The flexibility and customization of Mycroft makes it unique as it
provides open sourced approach, giving the users the power to make hardware on
platform to explore more cases as per the specific needs.
c) Competition From China:
 Rapid expansion of Chinese competitors to U.S
 Heavy investment done by Chinese Intelligent Assistants in Research and
Development for their versions to get better
 Alibaba: Authorised users can only place orders using AliGenie and also it provides
open development platform.
 Baidu: The search operator giant in China has Duer app as well as Duer OS an
artificial operating system that has the maximum number of conversational skills in
the world, their partnership with Xiaomi is dangerous as its having a huge growth in
the mobile phone industry.
 Tencent: The AI assistant Xiaowei is about to get into multilingual translation as well
as object detection.
d) The price drop of Amazon Echo dots created a stiff competition for Google Home
thereby Amazon gaining about 66.6% of market share in smart speaker market in
e) Complexity arouse in the smart home devices market as home appliances were from
different vendors.
f) Price as well as privacy were the major concerns in the smart home appliances
g) Amazon incentivised developers in the form of monetary rewards so as to create new
skills for the customer engagement.
h) In automobile industry, Carplay by Amazon created competition as it got integrated
with Siri.
i) In enterprises, Apple’s Business chat platform made Siri do all the required works by
the user. Microsoft’s Cortana linked with LinkedIn so as to make the users remember
about the upcoming meetings. The greatest challenge will be the integration of
Amazon as well as Microsoft to come up with business solutions and other valuables
for the users through their enterprises.
j) Major Challenges
 Privacy concerns as home smart devices record almost all the conversations of the
owner and might misinterpret to send the same to the person who might be in the
contact list of the owner. Also any person who had access to the device can control
the tasks that should be performed by the device. No restriction is provided for
accessing the device, that is, there are no authorized voices.
 GDPR act can eat up the revenue if violations happen in the case of time period up to
which data is being stored and used by the company.
 Technical issues like segregating the voice from the noise, which makes the accuracy
level to come down.
 Users are not getting exposed to lots of skills showcased by the company other than
treating the device as a toy.
 Google hasn’t created a monetization strategy for the voice unlike Amazon.
 The failure of Google’s monetizing voice search with advertisements due to the
complaints arouse.
 No link between the voice assistant and how that would impact the core business of
Google Search

By the statistics provided in the case it is evident that in the early 2017, Android users
conducted 20% of searches by voice through Google Assistant instead of text. By 2020,
estimates projected that 50% of all searches would be voice searches. The voice-based
searches are going to increase drastically in the coming future than the traditional text based
searches and Google whose primary business is into searches need to provide better
performing voice assistant than its rivals.

Google Assistant grew from being available on just one device in one language in 2016 to
being available on multiple devices with translations available in 22 languages by 2018. The
tech giant predicted that the Google Assistant would be available in 52 countries and support
over 30 languages by the start of 2019. This clearly indicates that Google wants to cover a
huge market share by increasing its services in multiple languages.

Google does not want to restrict its assistant to one device (like Phone) it wants to expand its
services to other devices like smart speakers, tablets, watches and many other hardware
devices etc. because many of its competitors like Amazon and Apple are trying to enter into
the google core competence that is searching platform.

Siri’s technology paled in comparison to other smart assistants: a 2017 study of the accuracy
of answers to questions showed that Siri answered 62.2% of questions correctly, while
Google Assistant, Alexa and Cortana were all above 80%. This statement clearly shows that
the google assistant is more precise in its results when compared to Siri but it is on the same
line when compared to Alexa and Cortana so Google need to provide high accuracy to
differentiate itself from others.

Google’s another important concern is with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent given their strategic
assets and the progress they had already made in voice assistant business because this
companies are based in china which has a huge market if these companies like Alibaba and
Baidu can really do well then it will be really hard for Google to capture china market.

Smart Speakers:

From the case it is evident that the U.S. smart speaker sales jumped from around 7 million
units in 2016 to over 27 million in 2017 and analysts forecast the number to reach nearly 57
million in 2019 before tapering off. Amazon remained the market leader with 43.6% share,
although that represented a significant drop from the previous year of 66.6% share. Google
was second with 26.5% share the drop was quite less when compared to previous year of
29.5%, while Alibaba edged out Apple for the third spot, with 7.6% share to Apple’s 6.0%.

This data shows that the market of Amazon has decreased drastically after the introduction of
players like Apple and Alibaba but google market share has decreased only to a smaller

Connect Home:

For online shopping, Google partnered with big box retailers such as Target, Walgreens,
Costco, and Walmart as part of the Google Express shopping service. Express shopping
powered by Google Assistant enabled users to order items from a range of retailers using
simple voice commands. Amazon will be a strong rival in the Connected Home sector
because it has its our e-commerce platform and data collected through this assistant will
vertically integrating its business. Google pursued entertainment partnerships to create games
on the Home devices with Disney and other family friendly brands will be a differentiator to
attract children and teenagers to buy Home Connect devices from google.

Cars and other hardware platforms and Enterprises:

Which brought features from an Android device into a car’s in-dash display, partnered with
Audi and Volvo in 2017 and had integrated with Google Assistant to enable hands-free
interactions during driving. Common commands included asking for directions, responding to
messages, and location-based reminders. But there is fierce competition from its competitors
like Amazon and Microsoft as they were partnering with other automobiles.

Google Assistant responded to user requests and made phone calls in the background to hair
salons or restaurants and created appointments or reservations by mimicking real human
conversations. Apples launched Business Chat and Microsoft announced Cortana integration
with LinkedIn will be competing with Google assistant.

Privacy Concerns:

By late 2017, both Alexa and Google Assistant had added the ability to distinguish between
different voices and link those voice to personalized accounts. However, neither had
deployed that ability to restrict access to smart speakers to only authorized voices, citing the
need to maintain flexibility to respond to visitors in the home. If this feature is rolled out then
some of the users who want to restrict their home assistances can take a update of this version
and more customer satisfaction is created.

Technical Challenges:

By 2017, Google had achieved a 95% accuracy rate in its speech recognition technology an
impressive feat, but not one without its own set of challenges. These hurdles would continue
to evolve as consumers and regulators joined the conversation and shared their perspective.
These hurdles raised questions for Google’s future success and underpinned how Google
thought about its future in the voice industry. The technical challenges were not only
restricted to Google even other competitors voice assistants are facing this issue so
continuous improvements need to be made by the help of machine learning and technical


 Many people does not prefer the google assistants because they have to use wake
words to start the assistants ON. So, if the organization can come up with customized
wake words option that would be a boost in the sales, which will increase the sales,
thus the revenue.
 All devices were only supposed to listen in response to their wake words, several
Google mini devices were found to be listening to their owners and recording all the
time. It can be designed in a way of deleting the data within a particular period.
 Google has not yet made the monetization strategy for voice where amazon had
started it monetization strategy.
 The introduction of Google music controlled by voice command can be a catalyst
towards more revenue. Advertisement can be added before application, which fetch
more revenue to the company.
 For the disabled people who cannot move their hands or legs can use this equipment,
which is, a voice activated. This can help them to move around and act without any
external help and it can be a breakthrough in the world.
 Security concern can be increased by changing the current mode of login by alphabets
or numerical into customized voice or quotes based on the customer requirements.
 Google can license its technology so that it can go with the collaborative strategy with
new entries in the market.

 Since the dawn of consumerism of smart home devices, google, amazon, apple and
other voice assistant gadgets, companies gained the access to a new source of
consumer data. This created a massive privacy concerns to the consumers which gave
such companies an edge over the exploitation of personal information. The case of
Cambridge Analytica was evident for gaining unauthorized access of personal
information of 87 million user.
 The purpose of voice assistant is to help the customers in performing some specific
actions on a contrary, they record the conversation of customers. Once these voice
assistants are waked up, they start recording to whatsoever has been said, and send it
to backend servers for further analysis.
 privacy worry with Alexa, where it recorded a couple's close to home discussion and
sent it to a beneficiary from the contact rundown, and amazon shielded it by
pardoning it in the edge of aggregating it with requests from the couple's discussion.
The individuals who have total access to these shrewd gadgets they can settle on or
change the choices relating the touchy data.
 Another privacy concern is that voice-powered collaborators inserted in listening
speakers could be constrained by any individual who approached the gadget. Despite
the fact that there was a 4-digit stick code for its speakers, even this didn't give people
proof security.
 AI enabled voice assistants struggled to distinguish user commands from background
voices and ambient noise. In a home, it was generally easy for user to speak to their
intelligent assistant, but in a noisier environment, it wasn’t so easy. By 2017, Google
had achieved a 95% accuracy rate in its speech recognition technology, but it has its
own challenges.
 While Google, Amazon, Apple and others have opened up their voice platforms for
third parties to write new and exciting apps, the vast majority of “skills” created for
voice were going unused. Most customers played music or listened to the new, but did
not take advantage of specialized applications.
 Google too tried to investigate adapting voice search through advertisements but
failed miserably after receiving complaints, objections, negative press from users. The
trail was, buyers would ask Google Assistant an inquiry and to receive response but
received a wrong response of opening date of Beauty and beast.
 Voice will definitely become the core technology for Google in upcoming years, as
Google has always been a customer centric company and use of voice search has been
increasing at a huge rate.


Voice assistant will be a core technology for Google moving forward:

Google’s core business is search engine. Google voice assistant is in alignment with the
company’s core business that is providing the search results based on the queries asked by its
customers. Even though the Google assistant had not yet created, a monetization strategy for
its voice assistance like Amazon has created one for its voice assistant but there is a high
chance that in the near future Google voice assistant can be monetized.