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

Violet Tucker
August 31, 2017

Available later this year, this collaboration will allow you to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs, followed by Android and iOS in the future. In a move that will ultimately benefit customers, Alexa and Cortana will be able to communicate with Cortana and vice versa.

Amazon has announced some cool new features for its internet connected speaker, Echo.

Amazon and Microsoft have chose to work together in the AI voice assistant arena rather than erect barriers between one another. 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".

This unexpected love story between two rivals seems rather unusual, considering that what it basically means is users can instruct the assistant they're now using to open up the other one. "There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas", Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, said in the same joint statement.

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You can fire up Eufy Genie with the "Alexa" keyword, control smart home products, play music, pair the Amazon Alexa app and its thousands of skills, and even utilize Alexa's newly-gained messaging and calling feature.

Neither company is now working with Apple and Google, who offer the Siri and Assistant intelligent assistants respectively, according to the report. Echo owners, meanwhile, will be able to take advantage of Cortana's Office 365 integration and productivity-focused features to book meetings, access calendars and set reminders.

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.

The addition of whole-home audio streaming should help keep Amazon one step ahead of the competition, especially in light of new smart speakers, such as Apple's HomePod, coming out later this year. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella echoed that sentiment: "Hopefully, they'll be inspired by it".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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