1What the Alexa, Cortana Link Up Means for Virtual Assistant Users
Microsoft and Amazon announced that their respective virtual assistants, Cortana and Alexa, soon will be able to talk to each other. This fall, the collaboration between the companies will have progressed to the point where Alexa users will be able to ask Cortana to read them their work emails or create calendar events. Meanwhile, Cortana users will be able to take advantage of the more than 20,000 skills Amazon and its third-party creators have deployed. It also means the services will dramatically expand their reach across the many devices the assistants work with. This slide show will discuss in detail the Alexa-Cortana tie-up and what that means for consumers and enterprise users who want to take advantage of the shared capabilities of these digital assistants.
2Cortana Takes a More Businesslike Approach
3Alexa Is More Consumer-Focused
4Connecting to Alexa Through Cortana
5Accessing Cortana Features Through Alexa
6Alexa Comes to Office 365
For the enterprise, one feature might trump them all: Office 365 integration. With that option, Alexa users can take advantage of Cortana’s Office 365 features, which work with Outlook for calendaring and reminders. Cortana also can access organizational data and works with a variety of client apps on mobile devices.
7Alexa Will Access Cortana Through Windows 10 First
8Cortana Coming to Amazon Hardware
Amazon has been less forthcoming on how it will implement Cortana access on its devices. The companies have only said that Cortana would come to “Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show.” The companies didn’t say whether third-party hardware that uses Alexa would also support Cortana.
9Significant Questions Remain
Some important questions remain unanswered regarding the integration. Will the companies be working with each other on the back end to mutually improve their services? How easy will the user experience really be? Or, perhaps most importantly, will other companies join the partnership? For now, there are more questions than answers.
10The Alexa-Cortana Integration Will Start This Fall
Alexa and Cortana integration will take place this fall, though neither Microsoft nor Amazon has provided a firm availability date. Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 PCs will get access to Alexa first, followed by iOS and Android. The feature likely will be available as a free update when it’s ready.
11A Look to the Future
The two companies haven’t set a time limit on the Alexa and Cortana integration. Many industry pundits believe this could be the beginning of a broader relationship between Amazon and Microsoft. The agreement is unorthodox, to say the least, and could have major implications for competing assistants including Apple’s Siri and Google Now.