Alphabet’s most recent annual report dropped Microsoft from a list of competitors in the digital assistant market.
This change, first reported by CNBC about ten days ago, is perhaps the most definitive proof yet that Cortana simply doesn’t matter. If anything, giant tech companies tend to pad such lists in order to protect products that are dominant or very successful from scrutiny. For example, Alphabet still cites Microsoft Bing as a Google Search competitor despite it having less than 1 percent usage share on mobile (and less than 8 percent on PCs).
“Our business is characterized by rapid change as well as new and disruptive technologies,” the annual report notes. “We face formidable competition in every aspect of our business, particularly from companies that seek to connect people with online information and provide them with relevant advertising.”
With regards to digital assistant providers, Google’s parent company now cites only Amazon and Apple. Last year, Microsoft was included in that list.
Microsoft still makes the cut as a competitor in three businesses: Search engines, as noted, vertical search engines for job queries (LinkedIn), and enterprise cloud services. In that latter business, Google notes that Microsoft falls into a category of companies that “have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers and users in businesses that are further afield from our advertising business.”
Oddly, Google doesn’t cite Samsung as a competitor in assistants either, despite its bundling of Bixby on its own Android-based phones. The firm also doesn’t cite any competitors for Android, which it considers a core product, Chrome OS, or the standalone Chrome web browser.