In a niche update that some people may well have been holding out for, Amazon has announced that Alexa-enabled devices can now play podcasts via Apple Podcasts. It means that iPhone users entrenched in Apple’s podcast app can easier play their favourite shows rather than having to use a different service on their Alexa speaker.
On the same day Spotify also announced its podcast platform now works with Alexa devices. Both updates were specifically US only at the time of writing.
The updates will work on Amazon Echo hardware and other speakers with Alexa built in.
In another move that sees rival companies embracing each other’s hardware and software in order to encourage adoption of their own products, it’s becoming a tangled web of service loyalty out there in the consumer tech world. People with iPhones playing Spotify podcasts on their Amazon Echo when all Apple really wanted was for you to play Apple podcasts on your HomePod.
But since relations with Amazon and Google have thawed, companies are more aware of their users’ habits and are conceding, with moves like this, that people aren’t that brand loyal when it comes to smart speakers and podcast players. These two things are sticky though, and it’s hard to change ecosystem once you’re in.
Amazon wants you to use its Alexa devices as much as possible, and this update will ensure that your podcast streaming just got that bit easier. Given Amazon does not have a podcast platform (one of the few things it does not have, at this stage), it won’t be of much concern to Bezos and co. that you’re using a rival service on its hardware.