Microsoft, Amazon join hands to integrate their voice assistants

Friday, 01 Sep, 2017

The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated home speaker with wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, powered by the Alexa software. In a similar manner, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on, and much more.

"Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us", Nadella said. They will also get access to "Cortana's world knowledge and helpful productivity features such as calendar management, day at a glance and location-based reminders simply by asking Alexa to open Cortana". Microsoft, despite success in introducing Cortana to Windows 10 users, has been slow to enter the smart speaker market. "There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialised skill areas".

Working with the county council's telehealthcare partner, the PA Consulting Group-led Argenti Telehealthcare Partnership, the authority is working with Amazon to trial a customised version of its Echo device to help support people living independently in their own homes for longer, and reduce social isolation in the elderly.

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

Voice assistants Alexa and Cortana are to emerge as the latest tech power couple.

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What does that mean for owners of each company's voice driven devices?

Both Bezos and Nadella suggested to the Times they would be open to a similar collaboration with Apple's Siri or Google Assistant. Siri on iPhone. Google Assistant on Android. Devices like Harman's Invoke will have access to 300 million monthly active Skype users for calling and messaging.

Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year. Either Cortana is activated or Alexa, not both.

As part of the unusual partnership, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to say Alexa will be able to work with Office products, a feature of Cortana that he particularly liked.

Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft are among the many technology companies looking to capitalize on the potential rewards of the smart home market, estimated to be worth US$40.9 billion by 2020.