Right now, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana are two of the most well-known and most-used smart assistants in the market for very different reasons. More interestingly, further updates to Windows 10 will also allow users to access Alexa from their Cortana-based Windows 10 PCs. While the move is geared toward consumers, it also has deep ties in the enterprise and could set the stage for future deals. Amazon and Microsoft seem to be forging a closer partnership to see off the threat from Google Assistant, which has recently tied up with United States retailer Walmart, and the two assistants seem to complement each other.
Alexa, Cortana, and other offerings from Apple and Alphabet have generally been known to keep their products within walled gardens in order to lock users into their ecosystems. Cortana, meanwhile, offers a direct interface with numerous Microsoft productivity tools that are part of people's daily routines: the ability to book meetings, read e-mails, and set reminders through a voice interface.
Making Cortana accessible to customers in any device is of prime importance to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Both the devices will soon be able to communicate and complement each other in harmony. Nadella added that in bringing all of Cortana's features to Alexa is a huge step toward the company's goal.
Amazon Echo device users will be able to ask Alexa to bring in Cortana as a "guest" to tend to tasks such as booking meetings or reading work email.
Microsoft and Amazon are pairing their voice assistants together in a collaboration announced Wednesday.
As The New York Times reports, both companies have been working together behind the scenes in the past year to make this collaboration a reality.
Amazon has had an incredible run at getting Alexa into homes by integrating its virtual assistant into the Amazon Echo smart speaker, as well as a growing number of third party speakers.
Of course, there can't be a conversation about digital assistants without including Siri and Google Assistant. Google Assistant is built into the Google Home speaker as well as select Android phones, while Apple's Siri has been the digital assistant inside iPhones for years. With the partnership users can get the best of both worlds and access features from both devices.
"The world is big and so multifaceted", Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says in a news release.
Consumers waiting for a Hermes delivery on behalf of one of the UK's leading retailers, or expecting a package via the myHermes C2C network, will now be able to track their parcels via Google Assistant.