Microsoft and Amazon Integrating Their Digital Assistants

Amazon and Microsoft Show Preview of Alexa and Cortana Integration

By Gene Wright Aug 15, 2018

Amazon and Microsoft are integrating their digital assistants. A new preview is being released for both Cortana and Alexa users in the US, allowing each digital assistant to call each other and access additional apps and services. The integration was first announced last year and demonstrated earlier this year at Microsoft's Build Developer Conference. Now Microsoft and Amazon are looking for feedback before they are available on all devices.

The Integration is pretty much straightforward at the moment, requiring users to request any digital assistant through a rather clunky process. Cortana will launch "Alexa, open Cortana" on an echo device, and "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" will do the same on Windows 10 PCs and devices like the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker. Cortana and Alexa are enabled on every platform as abilities so you can access Cortana from an echo device and gain access to some of the Windows / Office-specific capabilities of the Digital Assistant. Similarly, Windows 10 users can access Alexa through Cortana to access a variety of capabilities and smart home integrations.

MICROSOFT AND AMAZON CONTINUE TO WORK ON CORTANA AND ALEXA While the integration may be cludgy, Microsoft and Amazon are working to improve that in the future. "The goal is to have two integrated digital assistants capable of performing tasks in various aspects of daily life. Features such as streaming music or alarms are not yet available, but Microsoft says additional capabilities and features will be added over time. "Engineers will use the feedback from the public preview to deepen the collaboration between Cortana and Alexa,.

Amazon also brings Alexa to a number of Windows 10 PCs with a dedicated app that can listen to the Alexa Wake Word. However, Microsoft did not really push Cortana forward. With the exception of the Cortana-powered thermostat, Microsoft's digital assistant has ceased to be used in speakers, automobiles, refrigerators, toasters, and thermostats, as the company has promised. Cortana has now fallen far behind Alexa and Google Assistant, and Microsoft has now commissioned Cortana with its boss for Outlook for iPhone to improve the situation.

If you want to try Alexa on Cortana and vice versa, on a Windows 10 PC you can say "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" or say "Alexa, Open Cortana" on an echo device.