In an effort to make love, not war, Amazon and Microsoft have partnered up their AI systems, Cortana and Alexa, to create a more holistic virtual assistant experience for their users. Now, you can ask Cortana to open Alexa and vice versa, if you want to shop on Amazon through your Microsoft platform or check on your emails through your Amazon assistant.
According to the CEO for Microsoft, Satya Nadella, the change is Microsoft’s latest step towards making sure that Cortana is available for customers all over the world – no matter which device they choose to use. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos said that as the world of Artificial Intelligence grows larger, it makes sense for Cortana and Alexa to play well together, complementing each other’s strengths and providing customers with a richer overall experience.
A Smart Move Towards More Helpful Assistants
For both companies, the connection between Alexa and Cortana makes sense. Together, the two AIs should be able to upgrade customer experiences across the board, providing a virtual assistant that’s more helpful for both professional, and personal matters.
Although the integration isn’t available just yet, you should soon be able to access Alexa through the Cortana assistant on Windows 10 computers, access that will be followed up by both iOS and Android apps. At the same time, you’ll be able to reach out to Cortana on the popular range of Alexa-enabled Amazon devices, like the Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo.
Amazon also recently announced the delivery of their “Connected Speaker APIs” which should allow customers to play music through Alexa in a range of multi-room wireless speakers. Just like the collaboration with Microsoft, this news outlines Amazon’s decision to spread Alexa across new hardware.
The Battle for the Smart Home
As various brands compete for control over the “smart” living room space, Microsoft and Amazon are staking their claim. While Google might have been the more popular solution up until now, the connected features of Alexa and Cortana mean that both companies are providing a far broader experience for their audience.
Right now, it’s hard to say who’s going to come out on top. While Amazon is certainly pushing its way towards the top of the pack for the moment, Google does have a significant advantage, with more than 2 billion users active on Android each month. In other words, that means that there are 2 billion devices out there already set up for a Google assistant. That’s not even considering the Google Home devices on the market.
As the war for ownership of the smart home continues to heat up between Amazon and Google, the decision to get into bed with Microsoft might have been a particularly strong one for Amazon. Right now, we can only wait and see what the next big announcement might be.