Amazon and Microsoft have revealed that their voice assistants are set to become acquainted with one another. Cortana will soon be able to talk to Alexa, and vice-versa, opening up new voice-controlled possibilities for users of Echo and Windows 10 devices.
While Alexa and Cortana do share some similarities, there are things one can do that the other can't. Microsoft's virtual assistant can make Skype calls, for example, and hook up directly to Office 365 for work tasks. Alexa, meanwhile, can be used to take users shopping on Amazon and allows control over home appliances (Cortana is making moves in this area, however).
So by joining forces, the two companies hope to fill some of the gaps in each of their assistant's repertoires. Provided their Echo or Windows 10 devices are switched on, users will be able to say "Alexa, open Cortana," or "Cortana, open Alexa," to tap into each of their unique capabilities.
"The world is big and so multifaceted," says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. "There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience."
Amazon says the two voice assistants will begin talking to one another later in the year.