In a rare move of collaboration between two titans of industry, Amazon and Microsoft are joining forces to help their voice assistants work together.
This means that Alexa will now be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will now be able to talk to Alexa. The press release details that you “will be able to turn to your Echo device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana”, or turn to your Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa”. Customers with an Amazon Echo will now be able to ask Cortana to do things like accessing Office 365 work calendars, or reading your work email. As well, users who have access to Microsoft’s Cortana can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon, and interact with the Alexa skills that are available.
The move is an interesting one; Cortana was integrated with Windows 10 and XBox One devices, but it’s adoption for other tasks has been relatively slow. And for the smart home automation market, Cortana adoption is severely lagging behind Alexa, Google Home, and even Siri (who has the benefit of HomeKit). So this move makes a lot of sense for Microsoft; and for Amazon, they get to leverage a partnership that almost exclusively owns the enterprise market -which could lead to Echo devices becoming a prominent fixture of businesses in the future.
Alexa and Cortana collaboration is expected to be available later this year. The full press release can be found below:
Alexa meet Cortana, Cortana meet Alexa
Amazon and Microsoft collaborate to help Alexa and Cortana talk to each other
SEATTLE—August 30, 2017—Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced today that Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa. You will be able to turn to your Echo device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana”, or turn to your Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa”.
Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.
“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
“The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon. “It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”
Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year.
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