Microsoft and Amazon are partnering to enable their respective personal digital assistants to work together. In a deal announced on Aug. 30, the pair committed to getting Cortana and Alexa to communicate with each other later this year.
Users will be able to say to their Echo devices, “Alexa, open Cortana,” or to their Windows 10 devices, “Cortana, open Alexa.” According to Microsoft’s blog post, users will be able to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs, followed by Android and iOS “in the future.”
Because both companies lack popular smartphones, they’ve each tailored their assistants to play to their strengths. Microsoft has integrated Cortana deeply into Office and Outlook, while Amazon has built an ecosystem around its own and other vendors’ smart speakers. Microsoft is using machine learning techniques on the back-end to identify wording in emails.