Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana to communicate with each other

“The crowded pack of voice-controlled digital assistants — Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana — are good at numerous things. They can help people play music, set up calendar appointments and check the weather,” Nick Wingfield reports for The New York Times. “They can even get two rival tech executives, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, to join hands in a rare partnership.”

“For the past year, the two companies have been coordinating behind the scenes to make Alexa and Cortana communicate with each other. The partnership, which the companies plan to announce early Wednesday, will allow people to summon Cortana using Alexa, and vice versa, by the end of the year,” Wingfield reports. “Mr. Bezos and Mr. Nadella are concerned that keeping assistants from working together could hold them back. The way they see it, each assistant has unique strengths that could benefit the other assistants.”

“In an interview last Friday at one of Amazon’s Seattle high-rises, Mr. Bezos predicted that over time people would turn to different digital assistants — also called ‘A.I.s,’ for artificial intelligence — the same way they turn to one friend for advice about hiking and another for restaurant recommendations. ‘I want them to have access to as many of those A.I.s as possible.’ Mr. Bezos said,” Wingfield reports. “As an example, Mr. Bezos cited Cortana’s superior integration with Outlook, the popular calendar and email application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite of software. Because Microsoft controls both products, Outlook is integrated more deeply with Cortana than with other voice assistants. Through its collaboration with Microsoft, Amazon said, Alexa users will get answers to some of the same questions that Cortana can now answer.”

“Mr. Bezos said he had not reached out to Apple or Google to invite them to join in the effort and does not know if they would want to,” Wingfield reports. “‘I’d welcome it,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We very highly doubt Apple would want to join such an effort as polluting pristine ecosystems, both virtual and actual, is, thankfully, not in the company’s DNA.

9 Comments

  1. I think both Google and Apple see it as that they don’t have most of the glaring limitations that the other two do. From MS and Amazon’s point of view their biggest weakness is no mobile phone presence and that sadly for them is the by far the biggest weakness in their systems. Alexas strength meanwhile in the echo in the meantime is there to be attacked by both Apple and Google. Cortana well she is a little lost in the wilderness as things stand outside of the PC.

    1. You make a good point. The weakness of Cortana and Alexa is the ‘portability’ of being in a smartphone, though it could be argued that Alexa is not too bad off with being integrated into the FireTV remote and Fire tablets. Having either Siri or Google Assistant join the party would benefit the collaboration greatly.

      Looking at it from the other side, Google Assistant would benefit somewhat from Alexa’s ‘Skills’ but if Siri joined it would be a big boost to Siri being far more capable than it is currently. In either case Apple and Google would have to give attention to what requests they are willing to ‘outsource’ to other voice assistants.

  2. Meanwhile, Amazon has started limiting the availability of their Alexa devices. Obviously, they are planning an upgrade designed to take in their sick collaboration with the MS poison as well as to compete with Apple’s upcoming HomePod.

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