Apple has built a suite of products to keep the iPhone at the center of consumer life (a la HomeKit), and Google has invested heavily in home-automation (think Nest thermostat).

But with its fast-growing Alexa voice-based digital assistant and Echo speaker system, Amazon is quickly dominating how people interact with all their devices in the home.

When the iPhone rolled out in 2007, everyone developed [software] for that. Right now, everyone is developing for the voice-activated Internet. —Mark Mahaney, RBC Capital Markets

Why the hype? So-called connected home is a near-term holy grail for major tech players want to own the way people communicate, shop, work and run their households. Amazon is hoping to facilitate all these interactions without an Apple phone or Google web browser as middle man, as Reuters pointed out this morning in a good breakdown of these companies' efforts.

So what? By cutting Google or Apple (at least partly) out of the equation, Amazon easily wins the "smart-home" race for a market expected to be worth $100 billion by 2020, according to Juniper Research. Developers working on software for products to "plug in" to the smart-home infrastructure, in turn, are making sure they're betting on the leading horse.

Go deeper

Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!