Amazon, Microsoft Announce Surprise Alliance on AI Assistants

Alexa and Cortana Will Soon Talk to Each Other

Users will be able to turn to their Echo device later this year and say, "Alexa, open Cortana", or turn to their Windows 10 device and say, "Cortana, open Alexa", the companies said.

Cortana users will be able to use Alexa to shop on and manage their orders, Microsoft said.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, stated that ensuring the Cortana AI assistant is available for their customers is the company's main priority, according to Business Wire. Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal", while his Amazon counterpart, Jeff Bezos commented that "The world is big and so multifaceted. Now Microsoft and Amazon are forming an unusual partnership, which will allow consumers to use both Cortana and Alexa across both Microsoft and Amazon platforms.

"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".

Microsoft and Amazon are pairing their voice assistants together in a collaboration announced Wednesday.

Does this point to a future of mutually advantageous collaboration with other big players like Google and Apple?

"Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google have all built rival digital assistants that have been seen as walled gardens blocked off from each other, and this partnership signals a move to make them work better together".

The devices that would get "Assistant" include the Anker Zolo Mojo, a small cylinder speaker that's like a third-party Google Home, which will go on sale in late October. With the integration, Alexa users can use this features of Cortana. The Echo devices are already competing against Google Assistant-backed Google Home and Siri-based Apple HomePod. But, Cortana Engineering Corporate Vice President, Andrew Sherman, made it known that these intelligent personal assistants working together will be first experienced on Windows 10 PCs. Devices like Harman's Invoke will have access to 300 million monthly active Skype users for calling and messaging.

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



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