Amazon, Microsoft tie up: Alexa and Cortana to be buddies

Once this functionality rolls out, you'll be able to say to Echo, "Alexa, open Cortana" to turn on your Windows 10 device. Alexa users will be able to access Cortana's deep integration with the Office Suite, enabling them to schedule meetings, access calendars, set reminders, and even read work emails.

Users of Amazon Echo smart speakers will be able to utilize the features of Cortana by asking Amazon's intelligent personal assistant. Notably, one big advantage that surfaces from the fresh friendship between Alexa and Cortana - but is hidden in the background - is the expansion of digital assistance on Windows 10 systems as they'll now interact with both Alexa and Cortana.

But AMZN and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) just dropped a bombshell that no one saw coming: Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistants will be able to work together.

Amazon and Microsoft are partnering up to allow their voice controlled digital assistants to talk to each other.

"They both get something out of it, which is mainly showing Apple and Google that they're willing to work together to get stronger", Milanesi said.

What does that mean for owners of each company's voice driven devices? Likewise, Google Assistant and Siri brought several challenges for the early Cortana model which all are appeared to be resolved through the new progress.

The move signifies a major shift for the competitive and crowded voice assistant market, which also includes Apple's Siri and Google Assistant. But despite the fact that the Amazon Echo dominates the smart speaker market, Alexa's reach is still limited. Along the same lines, you can say "Cortana, open Alexa".

There's the bigger question as to why the Samsung-owned company is releasing speakers running Alexa and Cortana instead of Bixby, but the immediate question is how this even made it out of R&D.

Nevertheless, it could be in Apple's and Google's best interest to keep their assistants separate to ensure their respective mobile software, iOS and Android, remain competitive as the next wave of smart technology arises. With the partnership users can get the best of both worlds and access features from both devices. But as the New York Times reports, it was Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who suggested the collaboration to Microsoft's Satya Nadella this past May.

  • Eleanor Harrison