business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From Bloomberg:

"Ask Amazon’s digital assistant, 'Hey, Alexa, is Amazon a monopoly?' and it will profess ignorance.

"'Hmm, I don’t know that one,' it answers.

"But ask about any of the other tech giants’ business practices, and it’s ready to critique them. Surfacing answers from across the internet, Alexa describes Apple as an 'oligopoly' and cites Alphabet’s Google as violating privacy rights, according to Bloomberg News tests of the software on three devices.

"Lawmakers and regulators have accused Amazon of using its commanding lead in the business of online retail to harm rivals and partners. The company is awaiting the results of a long-running U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation into its activities. Amazon has courted allies in Washington, D.C., with tens of millions spent on lobbying and a small army of consultants and public relations professionals."

And now, Bloomberg suggests, Amazon "appears to have enlisted its popular Alexa assistant in its effort to protect the company’s reputation.

"'Alexa uses a range of credible organizations and news sources to generate responses on any number of topics, including Amazon,' company spokesperson Kristy Schmidt said in a statement. 'When we learn of incorrect responses to particular questions, we take a closer look and work to remove responses that are inaccurate or misleading. We do this for a range of topics, as we believe it benefits customers'."

That's not the case with "Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri, Alexa’s two closest competitors," which both "cite news stories on government antitrust lawsuits against their companies."