On Wednesday, Amazon.com (AMZN - Free Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) announced that their respective digital voice assistants, Alexa and Cortana, will be collaborating in a brand-new partnership.
What does that mean for owners of each company’s voice driven devices? Well, if you own an Echo speaker, you’ll now be able to say “Alexa, open Cortana,” and if you have a Windows 10 device, you’ll similarly be able to ask Cortana to open Alexa. Other dual requests include taking advantage of Alexa’s easy online shopping from your PC and utilizing Cortana’s strong calendar integration right from your sofa.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, in a press release from Amazon, that “ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us. Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
Like most tech rivals, Amazon and Microsoft have reach where the other does not. Cortana is mainly used within Microsoft’s Windows 10 devices, and there are about 145 million monthly active users who utilize the company’s digital assistant. Amazon, on the other hand, has had a lot of success bringing its Echo speakers in customers’ living rooms, offices, and even bedrooms.
“There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience. It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the company’s press release.
The partnership, at first, will likely be bumpy, and it’s unclear how deep the integration between Alexa and Cortana will run in the long-term. This also calls into question if other major digital assistants, like Apple’s (AAPL - Free Report) Siri and Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google Assistant, will collaborate in the future as well.
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