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Apple strategy in ‘smart home’ race threatened by Amazon

SAN FRANCISCO: In less than a year, Amazon's combination of the Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant has come close to delivering on the elusive promise of easy-to-use technology that can control gadgets in the home with a few spoken words. Yet Amazon.com surprise success sets up a long-term battle with Apple and Alphabet Inc's Google for primacy in the connected household. And the contours of that competition are following a classic tech industry dynamic. Amazon is pursuing an…