Amazon's aggressive push to put Alexa in the homes of American consumers may soon be getting a fairly big bump. According to reports by CNET, Amazon is reportedly in negotiations with Lenovo to place Alexa on its computing (and other) devices. Lenovo is the world's largest PC maker. Reports come from an unnamed Lenovo executive with knowledge of the talks.
The news — limited though it is — emerges as the marketplace for voice-activated personal assistants is heating up. Also crowding the field are Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri and Google Assistant vying for control of more devices. And those brands have been aggressively expanding. Cortana jumped from phones to the Windows 10 PCs last year, and Siri will be available on Mac computers coming this fall. And Amazon's incentive to bring Alexa to as many Americas as possible is pretty clear, as "she" has a unique ability to reach consumers and draw them back to Amazon's central eCommerce business.
PCs, however, are not exactly a growth market, as shipments are expected to fall by another 7.2 percent this year and by 2 percent the following year. Some more optimistic observers have noted that Alexa's presence could draw some interest back to the personal computers of the world, though that would be some rather heavy lifting given the fall off in PC sales over the last few years.
The talks between Amazon and Lenovo are still very early, with many variables hanging in the air. It is unknown how Lenovo could tie Alexa into its products and whether it would work with, or in place of, Cortana, which already makes its home on many PCs.
"We consider things all the time, and we've looked at it," the Lenovo executive said. "But there's nothing on the roadmap."
Amazon declined to comment.
But Amazon is clearly pushing Alexa and the devices on which it runs. The firm has been pushing developers to design for Alexa with software tools designed to make it easier to work with the voice assistant service. Amazon has also created the Alexa Fund — backed by up to $100 million in investment money — to help promote new voice-enabled devices.
"Since Alexa and the Echo devices were released, they've really captured the attention of the technology marketplace and consumers in the U.S.," Gartner Analyst Brian Blau said. "That's given Amazon some fuel for this effort, to see where they can take it."
Blau further noted that the PC expansion could be a win-win for Amazon and PC makers.