Amazon has announced that its voice assistant, Alexa, is now integrated with Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant, therefore basically making the AI bots one. In a press release, the company states that by saying, “Alexa, open Cortana” or “Cortana, open Alexa,” you be able to interact with both assistants without having to switch devices or software platforms. We’ve never seen two companies do this before with their AI assistants, so it’s interesting to see Microsoft and Amazon break that mold.
With the new integration, Amazon touts you’ll be able to use Cortana’s unique features like booking meetings and checking your work calendar rather going through Alexa to do so, while Microsoft’s assistant can now do things like control smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, and use the over 20,000 Skills available for Alexa. Really, both assistants are just piggy backing off each other in this case with a cheap integration by requiring users to go through one assistant to get to the other, but it’s still nice to see the collaboration between the two companies anyhow to make the overall AI experience on devices like the Echo and Windows 10 PCs more capable.
“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
“The world is big and so multifaceted. 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,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO at Amazon. “It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”
Amazon says the Alexa/Cortana integration will arrive “later this year.”