Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A Preemptive Gripe About @Amazon


Amazon is upgrading its decade-old Alexa voice assistant with generative artificial intelligence and plans to charge a monthly subscription fee to offset the cost of the technology, according to people with knowledge of Amazon’s plans. ... Amazon’s subscription for Alexa will not be included in the $139-per-year Prime offering, and Amazon has not yet nailed down the price point, one source said.

My household currently boasts four Echo Dot devices of various generations (and has retired several devices over time as well). All of which I bought from Amazon.

I also pay Amazon a yearly fee for its Prime service.

And a monthly fee for its "unlimited" music service.

And I buy quite a bit of stuff from Amazon. Some of that stuff on the basis of recommendations/reminders from Alexa.

If this new AI for Alexa is a no-opt-out replacement for the things Alexa already does, and I get charged for it or can't use Alexa, I'm gonna be pretty pissed. I'll be shutting down the Echo devices, canceling the paid music subscription (which I use almost entirely via those Echo devices), and looking for another "home assistant speaker" option that doesn't pull that kind of bait and switch bullshit on me.

If it's an optional add-on, I guess I'll consider the price and decide whether I want it or not.

But what it should be is just a regular old update to Alexa, included in the price of the speakers themselves and my Prime membership.

Amazon is replaceable. Not as easily and cheaply replaceable as I'd like, but definitely replaceable. And charging existing, recurring, loyal customers more money to use devices they already bought is a great way to get them thinking about replacements.

Hopefully the story is incorrect. Hopefully if it's correct, Amazon will reconsider any poor choices it's planning to make. If neither of those is the case, it's probably going to take a big revenue and reputation hit.

No comments: