Sci-tech

Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana will start working together this year

Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana will start working together this year

In what can only be described as a surprise announcement, Amazon and Microsoft announced today that their respective digital assistants will soon be able to talk to one another.

The two will start being able to communicate with one another, letting people who only have the one assistant benefit from the skills available from the other. In the future, on your Windows 10 PC, iPhone or Android phone, you could simply say, "Hey Cortana, open Alexa", and ask Alexa to order diapers using your preferred payment method for your Amazon account.

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

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and chief executive, said Alexa and Cortana's individual strengths would complement each other thanks to their differing data sets and specialised skills. Although Nadella and Bezos haven't talked to them yet about it.

By bringing Cortana to Alexa and Alexa to Cortana, I'm excited that we're adding more value and choice for consumers and developers alike.

The new multi-room support works across the main Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot devices, and just like the rest of Alexa, is operated primarily through voice control. When this all gets implemented, Echo device owners will be able to access Cortana's features, such as booking a meeting or accessing work calendars. That's a task best suited to Cortana, which offers deep integration with Microsoft's suite of products.

According to Amazon and Microsoft, the partnership between their voice assistants is created to highlight the strength of each respective piece of software, and provide customers with the benefits of both. The world's largest online-only grocery retailer today announces it will be the first supermarket in the United Kingdom to launch an app for the voice-controlled Amazon Alexa. As it pertains to the AI voice arena, Microsoft deserves kudos for forging an alliance with Amazon, and likewise credit goes to Amazon for being accepting of the proposition.

Even so, it still seems odd that these two will partner up. Nadella similarly said that he hoped the two companies would be inspired by Amazon and Microsoft's partnership. Indeed, other rivals in the space include Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant, each of which are now powering their own devices including Apple's HomePod and Google Home. Meanwhile, Google's Assistant is now in smartphones and in its Home smart speaker.


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