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Amazon and Microsoft bring Alexa and Cortana to each other's devices

16 August 2018
Amazon and Microsoft bring Alexa and Cortana to each other's devices

Starting today, U.S. -based users who want "early access to the collaboration" can start talking to Cortana via their Echo devices and to Alexa on Windows 10 devices and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, which are powered by Cortana.

Updated It has taken the best part of a year, but from today Microsoft fans can talk to Cortana through the vaguely creepy ears of Amazon's Echo devices and vice versa.

As a voice assistant, Microsoft's Cortana has a long way to go before it's as popular or useful as Alexa as a smart home assistant.

Currently, this cohabitation works on Echo speakers, Windows 10 devices and the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker. Get started with Cortana on Echo devices by saying, 'Alexa, open Cortana, ' and you'll be connected directly to Cortana.

See, Alexa is like your Type-A friend who's all over everything: she can call you a vehicle, play you some tunes, and wake you the heck up in the morning! Eventually, the companies will push Cortana as the assistant to use for work and productivity related tasks, while Alexa will be employed on the personal side. You can now access both Alexa and Cortana on each of them. Microsoft says the companies will launch "additional skills and features" in the future.

Upon doing this the first time, you'll be prompted with instructions on linking the two services; you'll also need a Microsoft account, which you'll have to sign into. While Alexa can do a number of things Cortana can't (such as calling an Uber or one of Alexa's thousands of skills), it can't, for example, send emails or messages to friends who don't have Alexa's messaging service.

The Verge reports that Microsoft and Amazon have released a wider public preview of its previously teased deeper integration between the Alexa and Cortana digital assistants - available for everyone in the USA right now. Given recent demos of Google's Duplex, the collaboration between Amazon and Microsoft has been dialed-up.

The ability to stream music and set alarms across digital assistants are skills that are not available yet.

Again, this is a preview version of the Alexa/Cortana integraion so not everything works, e.g. you cant ask Alexa to play an audiobook through Cortana.