Alexa and Cortana devices will speak to each other soon

Kelley Robertson
August 31, 2017

Later this year, users will be able to access Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant from Alexa-enabled devices, and Alexa will be available on Windows-powered machines.

Rather than have AI assistants with particular strengths performing as walled gardens, tech giants such as Apple and Google could soon be working together to enrich the quality and capability of voice queries. 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. "Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal", according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"The world is big and so multifaceted", said Bezos.

That's probably not the most seamless method Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella's tech giants could have come up with to pair their so far rival services, but it may only be the beginning of a attractive (and unexpected) friendship.

Echo owner will get easy access to Cortana.


Ocado has announced that they are launching a new app that allows you to use Amazon's Alexa for grocery shopping. "Cortana gets access to very diverse Alexa consumer and home automation skills". Amazon is also releasing APIs so that other connected-speaker companies (such as Sonos, Samsung, and Bose) can also control music playback using Alexa. Also, since Alexa and Cortana can now talk to each other, Alexa will be able to answer some of the same questions that Cortana can answer. "Similarly, Cortana [pictured, left] customers can ask Alexa [pictured, right] to control their smart home devices [or] shop on Amazon.com", the statement said in part.

Even so, it still seems unusual that these two will partner up.

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new partnership between Amazon and Microsoft could be a major win for both companies. Cortana and Alexa need to battle Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant, and unlike the competition they aren't baked into smartphones by default.

Amazon says that multi-room audio is supported for Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora to start.

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