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Jeff Bezos's onstage hint about the coming Apple, Google and Amazon product war

The voice-assistant craze is right around the corner.

Asa Mathat

Onstage at the Code Conference this week, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos stressed that Amazon was committing to "intelligent" voice assistant devices in a big way.

Bezos said that the company has more than 1,000 people working on the "Alexa and Echo ecosystem," and that what we've seen so far is "just the tip of the iceberg."

Google introduced its own Amazon Echo competitor, Google Home, at I/O last month, in addition to its own voice-powered software ecosystem. And in a week and a half, Apple is reportedly going to announce that it's opening up Siri to outside developers (the company is also said to be working on its own Echo-like device).

By flicking at the broader "ecosystem" of apps and services that Amazon wants to support through its Echo, Bezos is making explicit what the next stage of the competition for Echo will look like. The race is on for these companies to not only build functional devices, but to add the cross-device apps and services that will differentiate them to customers.

Or, as analyst Jan Dawson put it in a column last month:

Though Home will perhaps be its best example, what makes the assistant powerful is precisely that it doesn’t live in any single device but exists in the cloud and becomes available to users through a variety of devices.

It is perhaps the biggest consumer product fight among the biggest American tech companies since the tablet wars of a few years ago, which makes it extra interesting.

Amazon doesn't release sales figures about the Echo, so we don't know how dramatic a consumer hit the device really is. But the buzz was loud enough to prompt layoffs at the high-end music speaker maker Sonos, and both Google and Apple are now investing major resources in pushing out devices of their own.

Of course, it'll be some time before the battle starts in earnest. Google Home doesn't get released until sometime later this year, and CEO Sundar Pichai says he doesn't have one in his home yet. Plus, Apple hasn't even made the announcement about opening up Siri yet or revealed that it's working on a speaker.

Until then, you can just play this Vine over and over again:

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