Microsoft and Amazon partner to integrate Alexa and Cortana digital assistants

Microsoft and Amazon partner to integrate Alexa and Cortana digital assistants

Microsoft and Amazon partner to integrate Alexa and Cortana digital assistants

Later this year, Windows 10 PC users will be able to say, "Cortana, open Alexa" to start interacting with Amazon's digital assistant.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said that making Cortana available across any device is "a key priority for" for the company. Soon, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana will be able to work side-by-side on on Echo smart home speakers. The New York Times reports that Alexa users will be able to access Cortana, and vice versa on a range of devices, but that the integration will be a little awkward initially.

"Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience", said Bezos. "Hopefully, they'll be inspired by it".

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Though we have a choice of many digital assistants from a variety of companies that are capable of helping us do everything from turning on our favorite song to organizing our day, one thing they haven't quite managed is to work together. Also, you can't use the Echo Dot's Bluetooth connection with this feature, so you'll have to plug a speaker into its 3.5-mm jack instead.

We haven't seen many to date, though you should expect Amazon's Alexa to be built into a whole bunch of speakers here in the near future.

Cortana and Amazon's Alexa are planning to come with a smart assistant partnership. The combination of Alexa and Cortana may play to defuse competition between the two assistants while simultaneously increasing sales for both Microsoft and Amazon and pit them against the other competition. It appears that both companies have simply created skills on each others platforms to enable the basic integration. But there is the hope that someday these artificial agents are intelligent enough to route requests to the best virtual assistant for the task without a specific "Alexa" or "Cortana" command.

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For example, Cortana is deeply integrated with Microsoft's Outlook email/calendar app.

HomePod will take Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have been building momentum in the market for voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

The new Cortana-Alexa functionality will be available later this year, meanwhile.

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