Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa
In an interesting partnership to take on Google Assistant and Apple Siri, Microsoft and Amazon have come together for the first time to integrate Cortana and Alexa – voice controlled Artificial Intelligence assistants. Both Microsoft and Amazon are working to extend and integrate the abilities of their voice-controlled assistants. The first integration of the Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa was demonstrated at “Build 2018”, Microsoft’s annual conference.
The partnership has been working behind the scenes from past one year, to bring Alexa and Cortana work for each other. Its users, as the companies plan to, can command Cortana using Alexa or vice versa. Although the exact release dates are not out, users can expect to have them by the end of this year. Microsoft Cortana General Manager Tom Taylor and Amazon Alexa Senior Vice President, Megan Saunders have shared the prospects of Cortana and Alexa enabling access to more devices in the near future.
‘Alexa, Open Cortana’
Expected anytime later this year, the integration will allow users to access Alexa on Cortana enabled device like Windows 10 PCs, later on, iOS and Android. Similarly, it will allow access to Cortana via Alexa on devices like Amazon Echo, Echo Show and Echo Dot.
While Alexa is for personal requests, Cortana is suited for business requests. While Cortana helps in sending emails, browsing official assignments or checking the schedule, Alexa within Cortana interface helps in handling daily work. This will work on receiving voice command ‘Alexa, open Cortana’.
The tech giants aim to add more value and choice for both its users and developers. Alexa users will enjoy access to Cortana’s helpful features like day at a glance, location-based reminders and calendar management, just as Cortana’s users will have access to Alexa’s biggest online shop – the Amazon.com. Users can manage Amazon orders and also use several other third-party skills of Alexa. Each assistant has a unique selling point that would assist the other.
Although general users’ compatibility is something to wait for, Microsoft has asked its developers to create more space for both AI assistants. It has also launched a website where users can get more information on signing up.
It is unlikely for tech giants like these two to cooperate on technology front as that’s the key to stand out in competition. Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft or other tech companies are doing huge investments into digital assistants to make them do smarter things. It has become the new way of interacting with assistant compatible devices and online services.
Alexa is used on Echo speakers that would be at your home, just like Cortana largely used on PCs. Microsoft is known to have 145 million active users of Cortana. As per eMarketer research study, Amazon asserts that it has sold over millions of Echo devices, dominating 70% of the smart speakers market. Both Microsoft and Amazon are doing deals with car producers to integrate the assistants into vehicles.
The two companies that have struggled in past to do smartphone business have impressive figures to capture the market with the help of this integration. However, the challenge is to get people to use Cortana and Alexa outside their homes and offices. Prior, both the companies have released digital assistant apps for mobile compatible with Apple and Google software but using them is usually not as effortless in comparison to built-in apps of Apple and Google devices.