Bot Platform Battles Could Differ From Those in the App Wars

Washington Post writer  Elizabeth Dwoskin reported yesterday that, “Last month, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Bot Framework, a set of software tools that let companies create their own conversational bots.”

The article went on to explain that, “On Tuesday, Facebook dropped its own mic in this increasingly noisy room. At its annual developer conference in San Francisco, the social network announced it would enable third-parties to build chat bots into its highly popular Messenger service. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a CNN bot that could send personalized news stories as well as another one from 1-800-FLOWERS that could carry on a conversation with a customer who wanted to order flowers.”

Facebook’s embrace of a bot platform is likely to set off an arms race, as major tech companies try to define how bots will be built and how they will interact with ordinary consumers. The tech giants know that whoever controls the most popular platforms for bots has the ability to dictate to — and profit from — an entire generation of retailers, taxi services, movie ticket firms and others that build for that technology,” the Post article said.

Ms. Dwoskin indicated that, “The chatbot explosion bears a resemblance to the fledgling app economy, circa 2009.”

“‘The same set of drivers that propelled apps to be really new exist with bots,’ said Phil Libin, managing director of venture capital firm Catalyst Partners. ‘The next version of that is going to be bots.’

The bot battle lines will look very different from those in the app wars. While it’s relatively easy to build an app, getting computers to actually understand language and hold real conversations is much harder, said Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond. The adoption curve could be slower as a result.”

The Post article added that, “Even the developers of these artificial intelligence technologies acknowledge that mistakes — potentially big ones that could deflate consumer interest — will be associated with this technology for quite some time.”

This entry was posted in Start-up Company Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.