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Amazon announced yesterday that its Amazon Echo voice recognition device "will be available in more than 3,000 stores around the country in time for the holiday shopping season. Customers will be able to visit select locations of The Home Depot, Staples, Sears, Brookstone, RadioShack, Fred Meyer, P.C. Richard & Son, as well as several other retailers to experience and purchase Echo."

The Echo is described as "a black cylinder studded with microphones that connects to the cloud, is built around its voice-recognition software (responding to the name Alexa), which works even when music is playing ... The device can access music and radio services, do searches on Wikipedia and Yelp, set up shopping and to-do lists, connect to other devices on the Internet -- basically everything a normal computer does, only without the screen."

"Amazon Echo is a must-have gift this holiday season, and we're excited to work with retailers across the country to make Echo available to their customers," Greg Hart, Vice President, Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Services, said in a prepared statement. "Using only your voice to play music, control your lights, and ask questions is magical, so it's great that people will be able to visit local stores and try it for themselves."
KC's View:
Let's be clear. I love the Echo. My daughter has one, and uses it constantly. And I've often described the Echo as a "Siri that works."

Let's be even clearer about something else: The retailers agreeing to sell it are ultimately committing a kind of commercial suicide, shooting themselves in the foot, pursuing short-term sales at the risk of their long-term futures.

Because the one thing that Amazon does not emphasize in its press release about the new Echo sales points is that it also allows people to build shopping lists and place orders instantly and seamlessly on Amazon.

All these folks are allowing Amazon to use their sales floors to peddle a tool that easily, in the future, take customers and sales away from them.

This is brilliant on Amazon's part, which essentially is sending a Trojan Horse behind the walls of its bricks-and-mortar competitors, filled with offensive weapons that could put them out of business.

But those competitors? They're freakin' nuts, in my estimation.