Instead of quarreling in the digital world, Microsoft and Amazon have put their differences aside and teamed up. The companies have agreed to put Cortana and Alexa together and leverage their different abilities #softwaremagic
Microsoft and Amazon’s smart assistants, Cortana and Alexa, will have to learn to play together. By the end of the year, the companies will integrate the other’s voice assistant with their products, giving users the opportunity to choose which of the two they’ll use.
“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,” explained Bezos in a news release. “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.”
The goal is to make both assistants know their strength and weaknesses and call for the other one’s help when necessary. But before we can hope to see that in action, Microsoft and Amazon will start slow. Users of either of the two voice assistants will have to open the other one. Those of you who own an Echo will trigger Cortana by saying something like “Alexa, open Cortana”… and vice versa. Whenever you’re using Windows 10, you’ll only see Alexa in action if you first ask Cortana to open it.
From that point on, two assistants, instead of one, will help you with your daily tasks. Cortana will do wonders when it comes to reminders and e-mails, while Alexa will shop for you on Amazon (or control any smart home device developed by Bezos).
As surprising as this partnership seems, it’s no denying how much each company will benefit from it. Microsoft is counting on more than 500 million Windows 10 active devices while Amazon has sold around 10 million devices powered by Alexa since this spring.