Microsoft and Amazon Pair Assistants for a New Partnership Deal

On Wednesday, Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp have announced a new partnership deal to let their voice-controlled virtual assistants, Alexa and Cortana, communicate with one another in the first significant partnership between two tech-giant companies to open up artificial intelligence-powered virtual aids to one another in the fast-growing field.


Silicon Valley’s tech titans have been competing to create voice-controlled assistants over the past few years. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung have all introduced artificially intelligent guides, aiming to gain a lead over their competitors and tying customers to their products.

Alexa and Cortana Mutual Benefits

The merged force of Alexa and Cortana  will provide users the ability to continually tap into work, their homes, and shop online, and will take on rivals Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.

Amazon’s voice-powered digital assistant, Alexa, will now be able to activate Microsoft’s own assistant Cortana, and vice versa. The partnership means that later this fall, Amazon Echo customers can use Alexa to open Cortana’s exclusive features, such as accessing work calendars, reading work email, and booking meetings, while Microsoft customers can use Cortana on Windows 10 computer and on Android and Apple devices to access to the more consumer-centric capabilities of Alexa, such as ordering products from the Amazon, playing music from a variety of streaming music services, and controlling various smart home devices.

Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa was first launched in November 2014 together with the Echo, Amazon’s smart speaker, while Cortana was announced by Microsoft in May 2015 and released for its Windows phone product.

“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a press release Wednesday.

“Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
For Amazon, the partnership also gives it access to about 500 million Windows 10 users.

“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. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement.

“It’s great for Echo owners to get access to Cortana.”

This decision of both companies rarely occurs as most virtual assistants are known to use data from their own ecosystems and not talk to one another.

Carolina Milanesi, a mobile technology analyst, said that Amazon has little to lose from the partnership and Microsoft’s Cortana might get discovered by more users because of the deal.

“They both get something out of it, which is mainly showing Apple and Google that they’re willing to work together to get stronger,” Milanesi said.

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Microsoft and Amazon Pair Assistants for a New Partnership Deal Microsoft and Amazon Pair Assistants for a New Partnership Deal Reviewed by Trade12 Reviews on 3:02 AM Rating: 5

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