- The collaboration of Alexa and Cortana, Amazon and Microsoft's intelligent assistants, respectively, is available for early access to customers, according to an announcement Wednesday. Customers with Windows 10 PCs or Harman Kardon Invoke speakers can summon Alexa, and those with Echo devices can access Cortana.
- The companies announced the partnership almost one year ago in an effort to expand the reach of the assistants across devices and to complement their skills.
- The companies are looking to early users for feedback and usage data to improve the partnership and underlying algorithms. While features open for collaboration are limited, the companies plan to widen the collaboration in the future.
Cortana and Alexa are breaking down siloes across intelligent assistants by opening access to Microsoft's productivity features — such as the Office Suite, email and calendar functions — and Amazon's shopping and third-party skills library.
While the collaboration can threaten the sanctity of the work-life balance for some customers, it can also promote the adoption of intelligent assistants in business settings. Alexa is already being put to work by companies including JPMorgan Chase, WeWork and Wynn Resorts and offers integration with business apps like Microsoft and Google suites, Salesforce and Concur.
By opening up access to Microsoft's voice assistant too, and vice versa, the companies promote their own proprietary technology in addition to more flexibility and ease for users.
Alexa dominates assistants in the consumer space and Microsoft dominates enterprise software. The collaboration creates a powerful partner ecosystem that can foster familiarity across personal and professional lines to hold the Google Assistant and Siri at bay.
Google Assistant can still tout being the smartest of the four, at least for now.