A Year Later Cortana and Alexa Are FINALLY Working Together

Microsoft and Amazon launch preview for cross-device collaboration between Alexa and Cortana

With the public preview, users will be able to use Alexa on their Cortana device, including the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker, their Windows 10 PC, the Cortana app on Android and iOS, just by simply saying "Hey Cortana, open Alexa".

Originally announced last August, with a tentative delivery date towards the end of past year, the tie-up was meant to give Amazon users access to functionality such as Cortana's Office 365 integration, while allowing Cortana users (if using a multiple is appropriate) to leverage the Echo's impressive smart home integration and do a bit of shopping. (Not that Amazon's waited on Microsoft to expand to Windows 10 laptops, television sets, and other devices.) It's easier for the virtual assistants to reach as many people as possible by partnering up than by competing.

What Alexa looks like through Cortana on Windows 10. Those who take part in the public preview will be able to share feedback to improve the experience, both companies said today.

Assuming you have a device with Alexa, such as the Amazon Echo, you can summon Cortana to perform actions like checking email, adding items to a to-do list, and getting an update on your calendar events.

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As of right now, Alexa and Cortana users in the U.S. can summon the other assistant via a simple voice command, with both Amazon and Microsoft asking users to test everything before rolling the feature out worldwide.

Not every feature from both systems is included, but the vast majority will work including home control, something that Cortana remains limited in. Given recent demos of Google's Duplex, the collaboration between Amazon and Microsoft has been dialed-up. You don't need to say "Cortana" or "Alexa" before your commands, but you still need to say "Alexa, stop", to turn off the service.

The idea is to capitalize on each company's strength - Amazon's in consumer technology, and Microsoft's in workplace software.

The ability to stream music and set alarms across digital assistants are skills that are not available yet. In recent months, Cortana-Alexa integration has been in testing inside Microsoft and with select Amazon users.

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