In what can only be described as a surprise announcement, Amazon and Microsoft announced today that their respective digital assistants will soon be able to talk to one another.
Later this year, Windows 10 PC users will be able to say, “Cortana, open Alexa” to start interacting with Amazon’s digital assistant. In that same vein, Echo smart speaker owners will be able to say “Alexa, open Cortana” to call upon Microsoft’s digital assistant.
According to the two companies, the partnership will allow the companies’ customers to take advantage of the complimentary skill sets of the two digital assistants.
In the case of Windows 10 users, for instance, access to Alexa will allow them to manage any compatible smart home device and shop on Amazon all from their existing Windows device. Echo owners, meanwhile, will be able to take advantage of Cortana’s Office 365 integration and productivity-focused features to book meetings, access calendars and set reminders.
“The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a prepared statement. “Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience.”
According to The New York Times, Amazon and Microsoft first started exploring the possibility of a partnership on the digital assistant front about a year ago when Bezos first raised the idea with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. It’s likely both Bezos and Nadella had Apple and Google at the top of their minds when they agreed to the partnership.
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.
[source]Amazon, Microsoft[/source][via]The New York Times[/via]