Amazon refuted a CNBC report from earlier this week claiming the firm is planning a major advertising push involving its Alexa-powered Echo speakers. In a statement provided to Android Headlines by a company spokesperson, the tech giant said "there are no plans to add advertising to Alexa" for the time being but didn't elaborate on the matter. While Amazon's policy on commenting on rumors is inconsistent, the firm usually doesn't outright deny reports that soon prove to be correct, with the new development hence suggesting Alexa users don't have to expect an influx of advertising over the course of this year as sources initially claimed.
According to the original report, Amazon has held talks with a broad range of consumer products companies in recent months, with Clorox and Procter & Gamble being specifically named as two of the firm's potential voice-enabled advertising partners. The fact that the e-commerce juggernaut now denied claims of an imminent advertising push doesn't necessarily dismiss the possibility of related negotiations already being held but may instead imply such talks are of the long-term variety. Even though Alexa is still the dominant consumer-grade AI companion in the United States, the Google Assistant is rapidly gaining momentum and the two are still battling for leadership of the segment, with both Amazon and Google even being willing to lose money just so that they can get their smart devices into more homes across the country.
While Apple is positioning its upcoming Siri-enabled HomePod as an ultra-premium offering with a healthy profit margin, Google and Amazon's endgame is monetizing their AI ecosystems by serving advertisements and leveraging vast amounts of data collected by such products, as suggested by the fact they aren't too focused on generating a profit with their hardware sales. Still, with both companies having vast cash reserves and long-term outlooks on the majority of the industries in which they're present, neither has the imperative of pushing for more advertising through their voice-enabled shopping searches in 2018, though doing so would certainly help them make some returns on their massive AI investments. The duo may share more details on their AI plans in the coming weeks, either at the next iteration of CES or possibly even MWC. Last year, MWC 2017 saw the announcement of the global rollout of the Google Assistant that's only been available on the Pixel and Pixel XL until that point.