According to Amazon and Microsoft press releases, both companies are partnering to bring a better digital assistant experience to consumers. Microsoft and Amazon are integrating Alexia and Cortana to tap into the unique abilities of each digital assistant.
If you want to take advantage of this, it may get a little awkward at first. First reported by The New York Times, if you’re using Alexa, you will have to say “Alexa, open Cortana” to be able to communicate with Microsoft’s digital assistant. Same goes for Microsoft where you will have to say “Cortana, open Alexa” to talk to Amazon’s digital assistant.
While it may be a little awkward at first, this cross-platform integration is for both digital assistants to take advantage of each others unique abilities. For example, Microsoft has built Cortana more directly into its Office products, and now Alexa will be able to take advantage of this functionality through Cortana, like accessing email and calendar. Microsoft is still trying to tempt developers to create Cortana skills.
This is definitely a surprising, yet interesting move from both companies. Microsoft is preparing to launch Cortana on Harman Kardon and is fiercely making pushes to bring Cortana into thermostats, cars, and many more devices.
While Microsoft and Alexa are partnering, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon has stated that he welcomes Google and Apple to offer similar integrations and he would definitely support it. In a press statement, Bezos said that “There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas.”
The integration benefits will become available sometime “later this year.” So be on the lookout.