In a blog post announcing a new Skills Kit SDK for Cortana, Microsoft’s digital virtual assistant, the company revealed it will be working with Harman Kardon and others to launch its competitor to the Amazon Echo next year. The interesting thing about Microsoft’s Echo challenger is that the company doesn’t appear to be working on smart speaker hardware itself, as Amazon and Google are doing. Instead it looks like Microsoft is more interested in building up its Cortana skill sets by reaching out to third-party developers and making Cortana smart speakers as appealing as possible by partnering with existing speaker manufacturers who will no doubt design the smart speakers in all different kinds of styles and forms.
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