Amazon and Microsoft Reveal Alexa and Cortana Will Start Working Together

31 August, 2017, 01:36 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Cortana and Alexa will soon be integrated with each other; two popular digital assistants to work together

Then they can use Cortana (via Alexa) to set a reminder or read work email, or use Alexa (via Cortana) to control smart home devices or shop on Amazon.

"Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us", explained Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today.

Despite the concerns, separate research from Radiocentre shows that over 9% of United Kingdom households owned one or more Amazon Echo devices when it launched in Autumn 2016, while claimed intent to purchase suggests household penetration of voice-controlled smart devices could hit 40% by early 2018.

An obvious benefit for Alexa users is that Cortana is better integrated with other Microsoft products such as Outlook than rival intelligent assistants.

"As part of the unusual partnership, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to say Alexa will be able to work with Office products, a feature of Cortana that he particularly liked", they continued. Amazon Echo users may ask Alexa to bring in Cortana as a guest to tend to things like booking meetings or reading work emails. Amazon just co-opted that with Multi-Room Music for its Alexa-enabled Echo smart speakers. 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.

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For the past year, the two companies have been coordinating behind the scenes to make Alexa and Cortana communicate with each other.

The New York Times reports that Microsoft and Amazon partnered in May previous year, after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos raised the idea with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft's CEO summit.

Alexa now dominates the market in terms of available skills: As of June, Alexa had 15,069 skills, compared to Google Assistant's 378 and Cortana's 65. Bezos told The Times he had not reached out to Apple or Google about adding their respective digital assistants to the mix, but that he'd be open to their participation. "At least that would be my hope", the Microsoft boss added.

You can now group up multiple Echo's for music playback thanks to a new feature that Amazon has started to roll out to its Alexa software.


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