Amazon and Microsoft link up voice assistants

The voice assistants of Microsoft and Amazon will soon be allowed to talk to each other.

The move is designed to bridge Microsoft’s popularity in the office with Amazon’s dominance in the home.

Microsoft and Amazon’s move to put Amazon Echo and Windows 1 in touch with each other is intended to encourage users to benefit from what both companies will regard as a complementary range of services.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, has referred to Cortana’s integration with Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite, popularly used in business environments, which would now be available to users with Amazon Echo devices.

Soon, users will be able to tell their Windows 10 devices “Cortana, open Alexa” or turn to their Echo and say “Alexa, open Cortana,” to make use of the respective range of services.

Users of Alexa will be able to access the productivity features of Cortana, including reading emails aloud, booking meetings, accessing work calendars – or “reminding you to pick up laundry on your way home” – using their voice.

On the other hand, customers of Cortana will be able to make use of Alexa shop on Amazon.com, control smart devices in their home, and interact with the third-party developer skills that are available on the Echo.

“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” stated Mr Nadella.

“Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, suggested that success will rely upon the services those assistants connect people to, as a dispute to the notion that there will only be one single voice assistant which will dominate the market.

Mr Bezos stated: “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 specialised skill areas.”

“Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience. It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”