E-commerce giant Amazon announced on Thursday that their virtual assistant, Alexa would soon be available on smartphones, directly competing with Apple and Google’s own virtual assistants.
Amazon announced that their virtual assistant Alexa would soon be available in their iOS Amazon app, allowing users to search for and purchase items, control smart home appliances and check news and weather updates using voice commands. Alexa was previously available as a standalone app on iOS, but integrating the service with the Amazon shopping app increases the virtual assistant’s userbase and introduces Alexa to people that may previously not have used the service.
Amazon recently announced a partnership with Huawei to install Alexa as a default feature on the company’s Mate 9 smartphone. Amazon is also working with Motorola to integrate Alexa into some future Moto smartphones. This seems to be an attempt by Amazon to claim a small corner of the smartphone market, which the company failed to break into with their own device, the Fire Phone.
Despite boasting about their recent plans to create 100,000 American jobs, Amazon has done more to threaten American jobs that labor being outsourced to China, according to MarketWatch. Amazon has made purchasing and receiving both physical and digital items a streamlined and easy process. However, this has negatively impacted many traditional brick and mortar stores in a number of ways.
“But for retail workers, Amazon is a grave threat.” writes Rex Nutting of Marketwatch, “Just ask the 10,100 workers who are losing their jobs at Macy’s. Or the 4,000 at The Limited. Or the thousands of workers at Sears and Kmart, which just announced 150 stores will be closing. Or the 125,000 retail workers who’ve been laid off over the past two years.”
Approximately 12 million retail jobs are with companies experiencing high increases in competition from Amazon, particularly in areas such as furniture, appliances and electronics, clothing and books. Statisticians refer to these as GAFO (General Merchandise, Apparel and Accessories, Furniture and Other Sales). If Amazon is successful in capturing 40% of the GAFO market within the next five years, this could lead to the loss of nearly 1.5 million jobs at brick-and-mortar stores. Read the full report from MarketWatch here.