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Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana team up to take on Google

Published Aug 30th, 2017 10:33AM EDT
Alexa vs. Cortana

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The voice assistant business is about to get even more interesting, as Amazon and Microsoft announced a partnership that will see Alexa and Cortana playing nice with each other. The move follows Google and Walmart’s deal to add online shopping support to Google Assistant.

This unexpected love story between two rivals seems rather strange, considering that what it basically means is users can instruct the assistant they’re currently using to open up the other one.

Commands like “Alexa, open Cortana,” and “Cortana, open Alexa” will be possible on Echo and Windows devices. It all seems counterintuitive at first glance because we’re looking at two voice assistants that have overlapping capabilities. Yet each of them comes with unique skills that users might want access to.

“Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice,” Amazon explains in a press release. “Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.”

Even so, it still seems strange that these two will partner up. Both Amazon and Microsoft are more than capable of expanding the powers of their digital assistants without any help. That said, Alexa on Windows and Cortana on Echo will become a reality later this year, so expect to be confused once you actually start using them in this weird fashion.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.