Right now in the battle of digital assistants, the team working on the Alexa over at Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) dwarfs that of Siri's team at Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL). And to add to that, Alexa's team is hiring at a pace that far outpaces Apple's Siri team.
Number of openings compared
On January 2, there were 747 job openings at that contained "Alexa" in the title. Meanwhile at Apple, there were only 167 jobs for positions with "Siri" in the title.
Consistently, the number of Alexa job listings on Amazon's careers website is four times that of listings for Siri-related jobs with Apple.
At first, we figured this massive magnitude difference was due to something obvious: Amazon hires more people than Apple. Amazon's workforce (613,300 employees) is much, much bigger than Apple (80,000 employees). So, this story should be a no-brainer.
However, when looking at the percentage of voice assistant-related jobs vs. the overall amount of job openings for each company, Amazon is still outpacing Apple. And when Apple is head-to-head with Amazon for domination of digital-assistant lifestyle, that's a difference worth noting.
In order to directly compare Apples to Amazons, we ran the data once more while removing all job categories that have to do with Amazon's other businesses. While this isn't the perfect comparison, it does eliminate 13 categories that do not include any Alexa positions, which offers a bit more fairer of a comparison.
But even without this caveat, overall hiring for Alexa-related is around, or above, the total percentage of Siri jobs at Apple. And with it, Amazon is still outpacing Apple in the percentage of voice assistant-related jobs they have.
Note: Similarities in Amazon data in late 2017/2018 was due to a lack of categories listed for Amazon jobs at that time. However, it did not significantly impact our analysis.
What does it mean for Alexa and Siri?
As one startup co-founder pointed out, Alexa's team is already packed.
(As a startup ourselves, we can relate to this)
And that raises a question: what exactly is Alexa's team doing? One current employee replied cryptically:
Currently, Alexa owners are teaching it new tasks and tricks, and the voice assistant has 70,000 skills taught by third-party developers. While Alexa's future is uncertain, we might get a bigger clue on why this team is so big when the Consumer Electronics Show happens next week. Look for more Alexa integration in other products, new skillsets, and demonstrations of how smart she's become since last year.
Meanwhile, Apple has been slow to do the things everything says it needs to do with Siri: integrate it into other products in order to grow its ecosystem userbase. Of course, Siri needs to learn some new tricks along the way, but without an active userbase, use cases are hard to come by. It's also worth noting that Apple has avoided CES since 2009, so it's not fair to expect any big announcements from the company next week.