Microsoft and Amazon announced today that the Amazon Echo will be able to talk to Microsoft Cortana AI (Artificial Intelligence) Platform. Amazons very popular AI platform Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated in the post “Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” going on to say “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
Users will have access to Alexa and Cortana features no matter what platform they are using. If you are by your Echo you could Cortana to booking a meeting, accessing work calendars, or reading your work email. The same goes for if you are on a Windows 10 computer you could as Alexa to make a change to your smart home device, check the status of Amazon orders or interact with Alexa skills to listen to Sirius Radio.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said “The world is big and so multifaceted. 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,”
Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year. What surprised me is how long Siri has been around and Amazon never reached out to Apple who is not offering a smart speaker competitor until recently and really is not even a competitor for Amazon in its current form. On top of that Amazon had time to talk to Apple before their HomePod debut and HomePod will not even debut until December reports are saying.
I am not shocked that Amazon did not reach out to Google considering Google Home is the other major consumer based digital personal assistant and smart speaker aimed at the same users as Amazon Echo.
I would like to point out that this is huge for Microsoft since Amazon hold the majority market share of smart speaker business. Microsoft really needed something like this because the Cortana Speaker is not going to take off in anyway. Microsoft tried Cortana on Windows 10 and that really did not work out for them in any form. Out of the 3 companies to partner with Microsoft makes the most sense because they are no threat to Amazon in any consumer space. Google and Apple are consumer based companies trying to sell products and services to the same users as Apple and Google.