Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana just became friends with benefits

Posted August 31, 2017

Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart-home devices, shop on Amazon.com, and interact with numerous more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers.

Users will be able to say "Alexa, Open Cortana" followed by their command such as "When is the next budget review" which is only available to Microsoft's AI.

"Today, we're making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home", said Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa.

Amazon and Microsoft have jointly announced compatibility between their respective Alexa and Cortana voice assistants.

With this partnership users will be able to Invoke Alexa using Cortana and also use Cortana Skills with Alexa.

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"Say you are at work, and you receive a text from your partner saying, 'We're running low on diapers, '" Microsoft says in its announcement post.

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

Amazon and Microsoft's voice assistants will soon be allowed to talk to each other. Earlier this year, Amazon developers already had published more than 10,000 Alexa Skills, while Microsoft only made the Cortana Skills Kit preview available in late April.

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

"The personality and expertise of each one will be such that if they interoperated, the user will get more out of it".

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I talk to Cortana every day - at home, work and on-the-go - to get information about my day, to set reminders so I don't forget things, and to answer my questions. Google, of course, has Google Assistant built into the Google Home speaker as well as select Android phones.

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.

The alliance comes in the face of competition from Google and Amazon, which have invested heavily in artificial intelligence infused digital assistants to enhance their offerings.

Amazon and Microsoft have chose to work together in the AI voice assistant arena rather than erect barriers between one another. Apple arguably kickstarted it all with Siri back in 2011, while Google and Samsung also compete in the space.

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