Microsoft and Amazon are allowing Cortana and Alexa to work together

microsoft cortana amazon alexa personal assistant talk
Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana may not be the best of friends, but they’ll soon get to know each other a little better.

On Wednesday, August 30, Amazon and Microsoft announced a partnership that will see the two companies’ AI-powered assistants work together across devices, software, and core services.

In the coming months, you’ll be able to invoke Cortana on Alexa devices with the command, “Alexa, Open Cortana,” and pull up Cortana on Windows 10 computers with, “Cortana, Open Alexa.” But that’s just the start. Eventually, Alexa-powered Echo speakers, smartphone apps, and smartwatches will gain tight integration with Office 365, Outlook, and Exchange, and other Microsoft productivity platforms.

It’s the fruit of a year-long, behind-closed-doors effort, reports the New York Times. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos proposed integrating Alexa and Cortana in May to Microsoft chief Satya Nadella, who was receptive to the idea.

“The personality and expertise of each [assistant] will be such that if they interoperated, the user will get more out of it,” Nadella told the New York Times in a phone interview. “There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data with different specialized skill areas,” said Bezos in a statement. “Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience.”

The collaboration stands to benefit both companies. Amazon says Alexa has sold millions of Echo devices, which account for an estimated 70 percent of the market for smart speakers. And in August, the retailer announced that developers had contributed more than 20,000 skills, or third-party apps, to the Alexa platform. Those include food-ordering apps like Dominos and Grubhub, ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber, and smart home platforms like Philips Hue, Logitech Harmony, and Samsung SmartThings.

Microsoft, meanwhile, says that there are 145 million active monthly users of Cortana through its Windows 10 operating system.

But the two incumbents face pressure from rivals like Google and Apple. Google recently launched Google Home, a voice-controlled smart speaker powered by its eponymous Google Assistant, and brought the Google Assistant to tens of millions of Android smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and newer. And Apple earlier this year unveiled the HomePod, a Siri-equipped home entertainment system that goes on sale in December.

Nadella told the New York Times that he’d welcome Google and Apple’s participation in a cross-voice assistant development effort. “Hopefully, they’ll be inspired by [what we’ve done with Alexa],” Mr. Nadella said. “At least that would be my hope.”

Computing

In the age of Alexa and Siri, Cortana’s halo has grown dim

In a sea of voice assistants, Cortana has become almost irrelevant. The nearly five-year-old voice assistant is seeing little love from consumers, and here’s why it is dead.
Smart Home

Samsung lets slip that its Galaxy Home speaker will be here by April

Samsung has been teasing customers about its Galaxy Home smart speaker, powered by the Bixby digital assistant, for some time but after neglecting to mention it at Galaxy Unpacked, the company let it slip that it's coming in April.
Smart Home

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Which one is better for you?

What happens when you compare the Google Home vs the Amazon Echo? Both smart speakers have good qualities, but what happens when you compare they're features side-by-side? We think one of these smart gadgets wins over the other.
Smart Home

What exactly is Alexa? Where does she come from? And how does she work?

While "Alexa" has become synonymous with products like the Amazon Echo, you can't actually go out and buy an "Alexa." So what is Alexa? How does she work? Here's everything you need to know about Amazon's virtual assistant.
Computing

Potentially malicious WinRAR vulnerability patched after almost 20 years

WinRAR, a piece of Windows software for managing archival formats, has been harboring a vulnerability for nearly two decades, potentially allowing malicious software to insert items into a computer's startup folder without user permission.
Gaming

Learn to uninstall a Steam game and clear some space on your PC

Looking to learn how to uninstall Steam games? You've come to the right place. In this guide, we walk you through the process step by step, whether you want Steam to do it for you or handle the process manually.
Computing

Prone to web surfing? Google Chrome’s new Focus Mode fights internet distractions

Finding yourself distracted by the web when you need to get work done? A new flag in Google Chrome could hint at a new Focus Mode. The feature may allow computer users to block distracting websites or notifications.
Computing

Intel expects Apple to transition Macs to ARM processors in 2020, report says

It has been rumored for some time that Apple could transition away from Intel to ARM processors, but a new report now claims that Intel is aware of the decision and that it could happen in 2020.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Computing

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.
Computing

The rumors were true. Nvidia’s 1660 Ti GPU, a $280 powerhouse, has arrived

Nvidia has officially launched the GTX 1660 Ti, its next-generation, Turing-based GPU. It promises to deliver all the performance and efficiency for all modern games, but without stepping into the high price range of the RTX series.