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Microsoft breaks down the AI Wall with Cortana Communicating with Amazon's Alexa this fall and Siri next year



Today Amazon and Microsoft announced that Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa. You will be able to turn to your Echo device and say, "Alexa, open Cortana", or turn to your Windows 10 device and say, "Cortana, open Alexa". The official word from Microsoft is that even Apple's Siri will be singing kumbaya with other AI assistants in the not-too-distant future.


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. 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.


Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella stated that "Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us. Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal."


Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon added that "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. It's great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana."


On Microsoft's 'Official blog' they added that "Available later this year, this collaboration will allow you to access Alexa via Cortana on Windows 10 PCs, followed by Android and iOS in the future. Conversely, you'll be able to access Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show."


For consumers who live in a mixed device/OS environment, this is definitely good news as the smart home speaker device market is expected to explode over the next five years. So in the future if your desktop is from HP, your smartphone from Apple and your in-home smart speaker system from Amazon or Harman Kardon, having each system's AI being able to communicate with each will make life a lot easier. And considering that Apple's CEO is a political activist who is against borders and walls of any kind, perhaps at some point Apple will begin breaking down their own wall starting with Siri being the go between.


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