When Cortana met Alexa

Friday, 01 Sep, 2017

"Similar to the unparalleled growth of smartphones over the past decade, more and more consumers are now equipping their own homes with innovative devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Google Home". Things are going to be a little weird initially. While Cortana is leaned more towards business and productivity, Alexa on the other hand is more consumer and lifestyle focused.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos even sees the cross-integration as a complementary step that will bring a "richer and even more helpful experience" to both Echo and Windows users. Office 365, the subscription-based productivity suite from Microsoft had more than 60 million users as of past year. That mean Alexa users can ask Microsoft's Cortana to book a meeting or remind them to pick up flowers on the way home.

Cortana will be bringing its voice assistant skills to Alexa's deep integration with Amazon.

"It's a surprise move by both companies, and comes just as Microsoft is preparing to launch a Cortana speaker with Harman Kardon and push its digital assistant into cars, thermostats, and more devices", The Verge reports.

Alexa and Cortana will be able to talk to each other starting later this year. Cortana is strong in the workplace; Alexa is strong at home and shopping. Microsoft and Amazon are doubling down on their bets on which digital assistant users will choose.

"They both get something out of it, which is mainly showing Apple and Google that they're willing to work together to get stronger", Milanesi said.

At present, Microsoft helps power Alexa queries through its Bing search engine.

Amazon has dominated the category of connected speakers since 2014, when it introduced its first Echo, which responds to voice commands and allows users to order goods or rides and control-connected appliances.

Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft (Euronext: MSF.NX - news) 's Cortana will start talking to each other in a first of its kind alliance of rival digital assistants, the companies said on Wednesday. All four however, have opened access for third parties to serve their customers through the assistants, with SDKs and APIs. By joining forces, Amazon and Microsoft could augment their voice assistant reach. For example, Cortana is intrinsically tied to Microsoft Outlook, while Alexa supports various smart home accessories and is incorporated into Amazon's online website and music streaming services.