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Amazon’s Alexa is Teaming up with Microsoft’s Cortana

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“Alexa, can you open Microsoft’s Cortana?”

Amazon and Microsoft are joining efforts to make their digital assistants Alexa and Cortana work in concert.

Amazon’s voice-powered helper Alexa will now be able to access Cortana’s functions (and viceversa) through a range of different platforms.

According to The New York Times, the integration between the two smart assistants should be pretty straightforward: Amazon users will be able to conjure up Microsoft’s butler just by saying “Alexa, open Cortana”; Microsoft customers will be able to do just the same with Alexa. The partnership will be fully operational by the end of the year.

This will allow Amazon and Microsoft users to access functions such as Cortana’s calendars or Alexa’s smart home applications.

In other words, each tech giant created a “skill” for the other’s platform—skills are apps third-party developers make available on voice-activated platforms such as Amazon Echo.

Still, the partnership between the two comes a bit as a surprise, especially in the light of Microsoft’s impending launch of its own, Cortana-powered smart speaker— which will enter an arena already crowded with Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.

On the other hand, the team-up will allow Microsoft and Amazon to take more energetically on their mutual enemy Google.

The alliance comes as Amazon and Google are scaling up their aggressiveness towards each other: last week, Amazon announced it would lower grocery prices at its subsidiary Whole Foods, just days after Google had struck a delivery deal with hypermarket chain Walmart.

This week, Whole Foods—which was taken over by the e-commerce giant in June for $13.7 billion—has also started selling Amazon Echo as “pick of the season” in its stores.

Image via Amazon

 

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