Senior leaders in Silicon Valley took the wrong lesson from Steve Jobs. Leadership at Amazon, Google, and Facebook got the idea that the way to win a new industry is to create a closed ecosystem. As a result they’ve set out to own their customer’s online lives. They want you to use their device with their operating system and their applications so you can access their services over (in Google’s case) their fiber network.
Apple’s ecosystem is tightly integrated and effectively closed, there’s no arguing that. But, that isn’t what made Apple a trillion dollar company. Apple became a trillion dollar company because they built a luxury brand. That is why Apple stores are often located next to H&M, Hugo Boss, and Versace rather than Walmart or McDonald’s. They are not profitable because they are vertically integrated. Apple is profitable because they demand the same huge margins on their electronics that designers demand for their clothes.
This opens the door to competitors who understand that most people want the freedom to use their technology with any ecosystem. People want to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Vudu – not just Apple’s new TV service. They want to use Spotify on their Roku devices, check their schedule on a Windows machine, and have their Phillips Hue lights work with their SmartThings IoT hub. Most people don’t want to be locked into an ecosystem.
The Open Future
At Mycroft we believe that voice will play a big role in how people use technology in the future. Their voice assistant will help schedule appointments, screen phone calls, control IoT devices, stream media, and control their transportation. Clearly Big Tech firms see the same future, so the race is on to build a technology that performs well in all of these environments.
That’s the reason we are working hard on cross-platform support for Mycroft in 2019. We already support Linux in many flavors, so initially, we’ll start with Android. As of today Android still uses the Linux kernel (though I’ve heard that might change) so it makes sense for us to play to our strengths. After Android, we’ll spend time working on support for less open ecosystems like Windows, macOS, and iOS. The goal is to provide a voice assistant that works wherever you are – in your car, at your desk, in the bathtub … anywhere you want access to your digital life.
While Big Tech is trying to replicate the success of closed companies like Apple, we’ll be working to replicate the success of open companies like the Wikimedia Foundation, WordPress, Mozilla, and MongoDB. Where Big Tech is closed, we’ll be open. Where they work to contain people, we’ll work to free them. We see this as the best way to get to our ultimate goal – an AI that runs anywhere and interacts exactly like a person.
You can join us on this journey. To contribute, some Community Members buy our devices, others become monthly Mycroft Supporters. Developers can contribute the code that will help us bring Mycroft to Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS. Anyone can tag Precise and DeepSpeech recordings or set up Mycroft and use it every day. Right now, you can invest in Mycroft AI on StartEngine to take a stake in our vision, and support privacy, transparency, freedom, and interoperability.
Mycroft’s First Officer, a serial entrepreneur and Air Force Officer, Joshua brings more than 15 years of leadership experience to the Mycroft team. He is a strong supporter of the open ethos, net neutrality and consumer privacy. Joshua lives in Holualoa, Hawaii with his wife and co-founder Kris Adair.