Microsoft and Amazon have announced the first fruits of plans to integrate the Cortana and Alexa personal assistants.
During a demonstration at the Build 2018 conference today (May 7), Microsoft and Amazon showcased how Cortana and Alexa could be opened on the same smart speakers.
In this case, Alexa was used to control smart home devices, while Cortana answered queries about the calendar.
This demonstrated the two companies’ eventual goal of ensuring both can access the key advantages of the other’s personal assistant, whether it’s on PCs or Echo devices.
Microsoft and Amazon eventually hope the partnership will herald an era where both assistants will work in tandem, with the best equipped to answer a specific query taking the lead.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said (via GeekWire): “We want to make it possible for our customers to get the most out of their personal assistants, not be bound to a single one.
“So we’ve been working with our friends across the lake at Amazon to really bring Alexa and Cortana together to benefit every developer and user.”
The surprise partnership was announced last summer and today’s announcement comes much later than the end of 2017 pledge.
In an interview with the New York Times at the time, Nadella said: “The personality and expertise of each one will be such that if they interoperated, the user will get more out of it. That resonated for me and for him, and then that’s what led to the teams working.”
In the same piece Amazon’s Jeff Bezos added: “In my view of the world, because that would be best for the customer, that’s probably what eventually happens.”
If it comes to fruition the partnership could help Amazon boost its lead over the likes of Siri and Google Assistant (we’d mention Samsung’s Bixby, but, you know…)
The new integration is going to be available as part of a limited beta, with Microsoft encouraging interested parties to register their interest here.
Would you welcome Cortana into your Amazon Echo interface? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.