Microsoft Partners With Harman Kardon for Echo-Like Device

AdvertistingAge – Yesterday Microsoft officially confirmed its intentions to get into the smart speaker market with the announcement of a new partnership with Harman Kardon. The audio equipment manufacturer will be the first brand to integrate Cortana into a new smart speaker design. A source close to the project told AdAge, “When you think of Echo, you think of ecommerce. And when you think of Google Home you think of voice enabled search. But when people think of Harman Kardon, they think of high quality audio. And that’s what I think you’ll see coming from this.” It seems Microsoft is looking to differentiate itself by marketing its new speaker as more of an entertainment device and placing an emphasis on speaker quality.

The Coming War of Digital Assistants

But as Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst for Altimeter, points out, its not just about the device. It’s also about the digital assistant inside. “There is going to be a war of the agents in 2017 between Google, Apple, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft. So we’ll need to see how it rolls out. It’s still early days, but the key will be to see which company delivers the most usable, useful and natural extension to people’s lives.” LINK