Amazon and Microsoft link up voice assistants

Amazon and Microsoft link up voice assistants

Amazon and Microsoft link up voice assistants

The news arrived in the form of a joint announcement from both companies, and the New York Times is reporting that Amazon and Microsoft have spent the a year ago integrating Cortana into the Alexa ecosystem and vice versa. For example, you can assign a number of Echo devices to a group called "Downstairs" and then say "Alexa, play Hotel California downstairs".

Amazon has been busy turning Alexa into an engine for e-commerce while Microsoft has, as expected, integrated Cortana into Windows and Outlook from a productivity point of view.

As the artificial intelligence war heats up, Amazon and Microsoft have chose to join forces in hopes of getting the edge over competition from Apple and Google. Plus all the other skills Alexa has to offer. Cortana can assist users to book a meeting, access work calendars, and read work emails. Amazon just co-opted that with Multi-Room Music for its Alexa-enabled Echo smart speakers.

Amazon has finally added the ability to Alexa, that allows it to stream music all throughout your house at once (assuming of course that you have an Alexa-equipped device in each room). "It's great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana".

Initially, the Cortana/Alexa integration will be "awkward", The New York Times says.

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Overall, today's announcement is very good news for Microsoft and Cortana users.

Said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, Amazon: "The world is big and so multifaceted".

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella has prioritized making the company's software and services available from the broad array of devices people use to connect to the internet. Well, both Alexa and Cortana will be able to access a selection of the other's features, simply through user voice control. Both Bezos and Nadella also share the belief that Cortana and Alexa have each of their own unique set of features that could be beneficial for both. "Not only does it enhance the utility of using Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices, but much more importantly, it heralds a future of broad cross-platform compatibility that will open new doors to individuals and organizations alike".

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

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