Marketers around the world following the Consumer Electronics Show this year might have been wondering whether to double down in their dealings with Google or Amazon. But any product manufacturer that is focused on its long-term relevance needs to be praying Samsung's approach is the one that wins out in the end.
The press coverage coming out of CES 2018 this month made it seem like Google and Amazon were all that mattered at the show. Google's marketing blitz, featuring flashy digital billboards outside hotels such as the Cosmopolitan (a haven for marketers) and 20-foot-tall voice-activated prize machines led some to name it the show's unofficial champion. TechCrunch gushed before the show started, "Google Has Planted Its Flag at CES," while the show concluded with Recode wondering, "Did Google Assistant Win CES 2018?" The coverage of the Google-Amazon rivalry was everywhere, with Wired saying that "the war is on," Yahoo Finance describing how the two "duke it out" and Mashable declaring that the "arms race is heating up." If that was the top story at CES, it was a very slow year given that Amazon released its Echo in 2014, and Google released its Home hardware and Assistant software in 2016. I kept reading the coverage and wondering if the press only now discovered that the two U.S. technology titans compete with each other.
What's particularly disappointing with the coverage is that while some outlets took the liberty of decrying Apple's lack of visibility at CES, they neglected to mention Samsung's strategy as an alternative. Consider The New York Times, which answered readers' mail. In addressing a question about Apple, the Times wrote, "This year, Apple doesn't seem very relevant here. The show now revolves around Amazon and Google and their battle for domination with voice assistants." Those two may be the biggest winners, but they're not the only options.