Alexa has a new friend: Cortana

Microsoft and Amazon made quite a blockbuster announcement today, revealing that their respective digital assistants will soon be integrated with each other.

The partnership is an ususual one, given the two companies, and therefore assistants, are rivals.

Meanwhile, those with devices powered by Windows 10 software will be able to have Cortana bring in Alexa for tasks such as controlling smart devices in homes or, of course, ordering items from Amazon. "They will also get access to 'Cortana's world knowledge and helpful productivity features such as calendar management, day at a glance and location-based reminders simply by asking Alexa to open Cortana'".

The unusual alliance started in May 2016 when Jeff Bezos raised the idea to Satya Nadella at Microsoft's CEO summit, which piqued the latter's interest. It's likely both Bezos and Nadella had Apple and Google at the top of their minds when they agreed to the partnership. Senior vice president of Amazon devices, Dave Limp has emphasized on the significance of collaboration between key artificial intelligence helpers in the previous month. By linking the two, you'll have easy access to the things that Cortana excels at. Similarly, Cortana customers will be able to ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon, interact with more than 20,000 skills, and more. It's likely that Alexa users will now also be able to use this Outlook reminder feature as well.

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This cross-platform integration will also allow Alexa users to get access to some of the more unique aspects of Cortana. Later this year, Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa.

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. Google, of course, has Google Assistant built into the Google Home speaker as well as select Android phones.

With Amazon and Microsoft already collaborating, does it mean that Apple and Google will join in? It works with Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora for now, and the company says support for Spotify and SiriusXM is "coming soon".


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