Amazon and Microsoft join forces to take on voice market

01 September, 2017, 01:50 | Author: Darnell Patrick
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Announced today, but arriving later this year, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana will be able to talk to each other, allowing for users to get more done.

Despite being competitors in a hotly contested scene, users of Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana will be able to cross-connect both speakers to perform a range of activities, from reading emails, ordering groceries, calling a taxi or interacting with smart home systems.

It is thought Alexa will help Cortana to come out of its shell a little bit - the Windows-native voice assistant has been largely limited to laptops so far.

'Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal'.

Nevertheless, tech analysts are expecting Google and Apple to join the partnership.

"With Alexa as a guest on Cortana, Cortana users will now have another way of making their lives easier with a great shopping experience".


Nevertheless, it could be in Apple's and Google's best interest to keep their assistants separate to ensure their respective mobile software, iOS and Android, remain competitive as the next wave of smart technology arises.

That leaves Apple's Siri and the Google Assistant out of the mix. On your Alexa device, you can say, 'Alexa, open Cortana, ' and ask when your first meeting is'.

Both Cortana and Alexa have their own strengths - Cortana does well with its integration in Microsoft suite of apps and services and Alexa has a better handle on the smart home operations and Amazon services.

Cortana coming to Echo devices brings over a lot of options, such as having access to Cortana's many productivity features. Amazon and Microsoft have partnered to closely integrate Cortana with Alexa, giving the e-commerce company instant foothold in about 150 million Cortana-enabled Windows 10 computers, and the Redmond giant will get Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices. Moreover, it will also give Cortana users the liberty to order things from Amazon.

Like most tech rivals, Amazon and Microsoft have reach where the other does not. The clear upper section houses lighting that reacts to both voice commands and the rhythm of the music you're listening to, giving you something of a light show to watch as you use the speaker.

The Cortana and Alexa collaboration was the result of Nadella and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos worrying that keeping assistants from working together might hold them back.

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