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Microsoft and Amazon are working together to make Cortana and Alexa friends

Microsoft and Amazon are working together to make Cortana and Alexa friends
[Photo: Andres Urena/Pexels]

Alexa and Cortana are learning to work together, announced Tom Taylor, Amazon’s SVP of Alexa, and Megan Saunders, Microsoft’s GM of Cortana today, appearing onstage together here in Seattle at the Microsoft Build conference. The two gave some quick demonstrations of how the two digital assistants have begun to learn to cooperate on tasks both in the work and home environments.

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The idea is for people to use Alexa for more personal stuff, and Cortana for work-related stuff. So a user, while at work, might say “Cortana, open Alexa” to do something like turn on the porch light at home or buy something online. At home the user might say “Alexa, open Cortana” to check on a work meeting or to call up the name of a co-worker.

At the end of the demo Taylor Alexa what she thinks about Cortana. Alexa said “I like Cortana. We both have experience with light rings, although hers is more of a halo.”

“Although both firms are in the early phase of this partnership, the move is a necessary one as the number of digital assistants explodes over the next few years,” said Nicholas McQuire, VP of enterprise research at CCS Insight. “[Cortana] will need to continue work more closely with competitors and others if it is to become a de facto player in the future.”

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