Alexa and Cortana to work together
Amazon and Microsoft announced that you would soon be able to access each other’s virtual assistants from the other service.
The voice assistant field has four players: Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana. Three of those services have hardware devices for the home. Amazon was the first with the Amazon Echo, then Google with the Google Home, and then Apple with the HomePod. Many believed that it was only a matter of time before Microsoft made a play for the living room with a dedicated device for Cortana. With this announcement its safe to say that it now looks unlikely.
“Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.”
Owners of the Echo will gain access to all of Cortana’s features. Cortana, on the other hand, will keep its limited feature set and instead allow users to access Amazon Echo for smart home use. Reading between the lines, we can say that Microsoft will not introduce smart home control to Cortana directly, at least for now.
Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has shown a lot more focus. This partnership could be a result of that focus. Preferring to let the others fight it out for the living room while it puts all its focus on the fight for the cloud.