Alexa and Cortana integration starts rolling out today

Esequiel Farfan
Agosto 15, 2018

Starting today, U.S. -based users who want "early access to the collaboration" can start talking to Cortana via their Echo devices and to Alexa on Windows 10 devices and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, which are powered by Cortana.

You can now use Cortana to talk to Alexa, if you live in the US. The collaboration between the two assistants was announced past year and was originally due to become available by the end of 2017.

In August 2017 Microsoft and Amazon announced that the Amazon Alexa voice assistant will soon offer a Cortana skill, allowing Echo owners to access information which is only available via Microsoft's own voice assistant service. Alternately, Cortana will be able to ask Alexa to set the temperature of the room through an internet-connected thermostat and access numerous third-party skills other companies have built into Alexa. During the preview period, only limited set of features are available.

"Hopefully, they'll be inspired by it", Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the Times a year ago when asked about Apple and Google.

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It's been a long time coming, but Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Alexa are finally working together.

One would hope that this integration will become smoother over time: it would be much simpler if an Echo let you speak directly to Cortana and a Windows PC directly to Alexa without having to switch-after all, each command is prepended with the assistant's name. (Not that Amazon's waited on Microsoft to expand to Windows 10 laptops, television sets, and other devices.) It's easier for the virtual assistants to reach as many people as possible by partnering up than by competing.

As Microsoft and Amazon demonstrated at the Microsoft Build conference in May, the procedure for invoking Cortana on Alexa devices (and vice versa) is rather awkward. "Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience", said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. Thanks to the peacemaking powers of the A.I. overlords, Alexa is now on intimate speaking terms with former rival Cortana!

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