Skip to main content

Cortana and Alexa can now call each other as new relationship begins

Alexa and Cortana aren’t making music together yet, but the two digital assistants made their first integrated appearance in a public preview announced simultaneously on August 15 on Amazon’s and Microsoft’s blogs.

Each device’s access to the other assistant’s full capabilities and feature sets will come in time and will grow, both companies asserted. During the public preview, which is available to U.S. customers only, Cortana’s and Alexa’s cross-platform capabilities are limited to basic skills.

The Microsoft and Amazon collaboration isn’t a shocker. The two companies announced the joint project in August 2017. A Microsoft blog post last August quoted CEO Satya Nadella, “The collaboration between Microsoft and Amazon reflects our belief that when people and technology work together, everybody wins.”

At the time, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release, “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.”

The eventual goal for the fully released collaborative feature set is to enable Alexa and Cortana to work interchangeably, with the closest or most convenient integrated assistant carrying out requested tasks. During the public preview, however, Cortana and Alexa are available as skills for each other.

Cortana as an Alexa skill

To open Cortana as an Alexa skill on an Echo device, say, “Alexa, open Cortana.” When you sign on to your Microsoft account, you can make requests such as “What new emails do I have?,” “What’s on my calendar for tomorrow?,” and “Add ‘order flowers’ to my to-do-list.”

You can access Cortana’s features with current Amazon Echo devices such as Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot.

Alexa as a Cortana skill

With compatible Windows 10 devices or Harmon Kardon Invoke speakers, you can say, “Hey Cortana, open Alexa.” Once you’ve signed into to your Amazon account, you can then issue requests like, “Turn on the lights,” “Play Jeopardy,” “What’s my order status?,” and “Add milk to my shopping list.”

Customers who try the Alexa and Cortana integration preview cannot stream music, listen to audio books, or set alarms, but those features and more will come in time.

Microsoft and Amazon engineers encourage customers who try the integration to give feedback on their experiences and to share their ideas for improvements. According to Microsoft, feedback from the public preview will shape the Cortana and Alexa collaboration as it goes forward.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
Alexa can now show more emotion when your sports team loses
Echo Alexa

Folks who converse with Alexa on a regular basis may be interested to know that Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant will soon be putting a lot more feeling into her responses.

The team behind the smart technology has been making gradual adjustments to Alexa since its launch in 2014, and these latest changes continue that work.

Read more
Amazon Alexa can now remind you to take your medication
3d printer custom medication magic pill mem2

If you struggle with remembering to take your pills every day, Amazon Alexa can now remind you to take them. 

Amazon announced that it has partnered with Giant Eagle Pharmacy locations to provide its customers the option to create medication reminders that will prompt participants to take their medicine at a particular time of the day, or even request prescription refills. Amazon is using Omnicell medication management tools to implement the new feature. 

Read more
Snag free ice cream in select cities to celebrate Alexa’s 5th birthday
Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen product image.

Did you know that Amazon’s Alexa actually has a favorite flavor of ice cream? And did you also happen to know that Wednesday, November 6, is Alexa’s birthday as well? You can celebrate Alexa’s big day with some sweet ice cream in select cities courtesy of Amazon.

The virtual assistant wants you to know that it’s her special day because for a limited time, you can swing by any of the participating ice cream truck pop-up locations below to snag your free scoop of ice cream. However, the selection is only limited to one option -- Alexa’s favorite flavor, which is Mint Microchip. Hey, it’s genius when you think about it.

Read more