Commencing this year, Amazon Alexa users will be able to call upon Microsoft’s Cortana to complete a variety of tasks – from reading a work email to making a meeting booking.
Consequently, Microsoft Cortana users will be able to ask Amazon Alexa to order an Uber, turn on their home lights or even play music.
The move follows a partnership Microsoft and Amazon have fostered, allowing their respective voice-enabled virtual assistants to communicate with each other.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Benzos states:
“Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience”.
To begin with, users can access Alexa via Cortana on their Windows 10 computers, with iOS and Android to follow in the future.
For the first time, Cortana will also be accessed via Alexa-enabled products as Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo and Echo Show.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella states:
“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us. Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal”.
Overall, the partnership will enable each company’s voice assistants to better complete each other’s respective strengths and weaknesses.
The move is the first time two tech companies have historically opened up their AI-powered virtual assistance intelligence to aid each other.
The partnership will allow users seamless integration across their devices, as Amazon Echo devices are generally placed on surfaces throughout the home, whilst Cortana is generally acessed through PCs.
Of the power of the integration across the companies, Amazon’s Benzos remarked:
“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. It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana”.
Mr Benzos has not extended the invitation to Google or Apple to collaborate on the voice-assistant technology, however, did state he’d “welcome it“.