Sci-tech

Amazon, Microsoft partner to enable AI assistants chat with each other

Amazon, Microsoft partner to enable AI assistants chat with each other

"Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us", Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, said in a statement that appeared on both Amazon's and Microsoft's website. Alexa devices will now have access to Cortana's more business-oriented features and integration with Office products, like work calendars and scheduling reminders.

At launch, those using the virtual assistants will say "Alexa, open Cortana" or "Cortana, open Alexa", and then you can have a conversation, but the two companies would like to simplify that, so users can interact more naturally with both, she said.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and chief executive, said Alexa and Cortana's individual strengths would complement each other thanks to their differing data sets and specialised skills.

MobileSyrup has reached out to Microsoft to find out how the partnership will work in Canada given that Alexa isn't available here through an Echo device just yet. In addition, the Echo speakers will soon be able to access Cortana.

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Amazon has been at the forefront of getting Alexa to handle consumer/home tasks like controlling lighting, playing music and more. Amazon is now the leader in the space, with Echo devices representing 70% of sales for smart speakers, according to the New York Times. We look forward to having Alexa on Cortana-enabled devices and Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices later this year.

Amazon and Microsoft have formed an unlikely partnership, striking a friendship between their personal assistants Alexa and Cortana.

Note: Alexa already uses the Bing search engine for its search results so these two companies and services are not total strangers. Google, of course, has Google Assistant built into the Google Home speaker as well as select Android phones. Indeed, other rivals in the space include Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant, each of which are now powering their own devices including Apple's HomePod and Google Home. However, Nedella did say that he'll welcome the companies if they do decode to join Microsoft and Amazon.

Sonos is preparing to release its own smart speaker in the near future which potentially integrates multiple voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant.