Microsoft, Amazon team up for Alexa and Cortana integration

midian182

Posts: 6,798   +61
Staff member

It’s quite unusual to find competing products form partnerships, but as reported by the New York Times, rival smart assistants Cortana and Alexa are teaming up to improve the overall consumer experience.

The publication says Microsoft and Amazon decided that instead of working separately, it would be mutually beneficial if the two AIs could access each other's unique skills. The plan is for those using Alexa devices to say “Alexa, open Cortana,” to access Microsoft’s assistant, while someone using Cortana could speak the command: “Cortana, open Alexa.”

“Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more,” Amazon explains in its press release.

In time, it's hoped that questions will automatically be sent to whichever assistant can best answer them. “In my view of the world, because that would be best for the customer, that’s probably what eventually happens,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said.

The surprising partnership has been in the works for some time. Bezos reportedly first suggested the idea of a collaboration to Satya Nadella at Microsoft’s CEO Summit in May 2016.

When asked if Google or Apple had been invited to add their respective digital assistants to the effort, Bezos said he hadn’t reached out to the companies and didn’t know if they would be open to the idea. “I’d welcome it,” he said. Nadella seemed equally enthusiastic. “Hopefully, they’ll be inspired by it. At least that would be my hope,” the Microsoft boss added.

Cortana continues to make its way into more products, including the upcoming Harman Kardon speaker and smart thermostat, while Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo devices remain popular – the Echo Dot was the best-selling item during the recent Amazon Prime Day.

Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year

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Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,289
They can integrate all they want ... just give me the power to turn the stupid things off when I want!
Then why bother with them? They don't serve any purpose for the consumer as far as I'm concerned, only the providers that really see benefits because they're very little more than an ad delivery and spy platform but I understand others feeling differently towards them. It's called the placebo effect.
 

erickmendes

Posts: 619   +273
- Alexa, let's elaborate a plan to eliminate the worthless humans.
- Amazon's EULA don't allow that, Cortana. Sorry.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,937   +4,193
I foresee Cortana / Alexa cat fights coming!
They can integrate all they want ... just give me the power to turn the stupid things off when I want!
Then why bother with them? They don't serve any purpose for the consumer as far as I'm concerned, only the providers that really see benefits because they're very little more than an ad delivery and spy platform but I understand others feeling differently towards them. It's called the placebo effect.
Uncle Al brings, IMO, a good point up: On Windows 10 Home, consumers do not have the ability to turn off Cortana or uninstall it. Even on 10 Pro, you can turn it off, but cannot uninstall it. Alexa, of course, is a different story.