Saturday, September 22, 2018

Your New Stereo | Lefsetz Letter

Echo Sub Bundle with 2 Echo (2nd Gen) Devices – $249.97

It’s 2003 all over again. When hardware was king and just as you got used to your latest iPod they improved it, only this time Cupertino is behind the curve selling niche items for mucho dinero and Amazon is going downmarket to own the world.

In case you missed it, Amazon just announced a tsunami of Echo products. Everything from a microwave to a car device and a DVR. This makes Tim Cook’s overlabored two hour pronouncements look like yesteryear. That was Steve Jobs’ game in an old era. Today Amazon dumped so many products it’ll take weeks to digest them.

Voice control. Apple was there first, and now the company is last. That’s the power of the individual, as in Jobs is gone. But Jobs was famous for turning on a dime, missing the memo and then leapfrogging the competition. Whereas today’s Apple is all about the niche ecosystem based on its brand, and how long will that last? You can’t even play Spotify on your HomePod, and why buy one of those when you can get a whole music system for two hundred fifty bucks!

I like the cheap plugs, for $25 anything electrical can be voice-controlled. Forget mixing and matching technologies, to quote the seer, “It just works.”

Unlike Tesla. The cars are riddled with defects in a world where we expect the first iteration to be perfect.

But this is a stealth move by Amazon, with its ecosystem of commerce and entertainment attached, did you see the bigger screen in the new Show? Amazon is gonna own your world, to a great degree it already does. I’d rather order from Prime than go to the store where too often my chosen product is not in stock.

The future is here now. Video took over from text and now voice is trumping them all.

Imagine just speaking the song you want to hear…

Well, as a matter of fact, that ability was pioneered on Amazon Music’s app and now Spotify has copied it. Your library is in the cloud. Your playlist is in the cloud. You just have to ask for it!

And unlike Apple, Amazon is offering its products for cheap. Apple is so busy protecting its margins that it’s leaving customers out. Do I really want to invest four figures for a phone? I know, it’s a computer, but you do feel a bit ripped-off, right?

Instead of establishing a monopoly and defending it, the Apple Way, Amazon is opening their devices to everybody with the hope that through sheer ubiquity and ability to interface they’ll end up with a monopoly anyway.

And whereas only a couple of Apple products have ever failed, Amazon and Google fail all the time, but they keep plowing forward. They get it wrong, and they get it right. Like with the Fire Phone. Most companies would hide their tail between their legs and retreat, but not Amazon.

Is this good for the world?

Voice control is. Make things easier and people will pay, especially if they’re perceived as cool.

But so much power in the hands of one company under the direction of one man?

Bezos seems to be able to accomplish more than anybody in Washington. And he single-handedly resurrected the “Washington Post.”

Just when you think we’ve seen all the tech tricks…

There are more.


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