The Information reports that Apple is working on an Amazon Echo-style speaker powered by Siri which would allow users to do voice searches, set reminders, call an Uber and the various other activities these devices tend to be used for.
To bolster the effort Apple is also set to make Siri extensible, meaning 3rd party developers would be able to extend the capabilities of the device, to for example switch on lights and other home automation devices.
The news come after Google’s own announcement of their Google Home speaker, which would be powered by Google Now and offer similar services.
With Apple, Google and Amazon already planning products, Microsoft is the odd one out without any home assistant. By not offering an alternative to these ecosystems Microsoft is likely to increasingly lose touch with the consumers that are the foundation of their home market.
Of course Microsoft itself may not feel the need to enter the market, with their Bing search engine already powering the Amazon Echo and Siri, meaning Microsoft will share in the success of these companies without additional effort and expense. It would however be a pity to see Microsoft disappear even more behind the scenes and with an ever lower profile.