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Alexa has a new friend: Cortana

31 August 2017

Cortana, for its part, can be used to book meetings, access work calendars, receive reminders about medications, and access email via voice functionality.

Overall, today's announcement is very good news for Microsoft and Cortana users.

The global electronics manufacturer on Sunday said it planned to showcase its appliances working with Amazon's Alexa voice-controlled intelligent speaker at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin that kicks off next week. 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". Having two digital assistants, and their respective products, work with each other would seem to be a way for those companies to better compete with other digital assistants, such as Google Assistant, Samsung's Bixby, and Apple's Siri. But I don't just use one digital assistant. Initially, both of them were troubled because of the incompatibility which reduced the usage and now they came up with this idea of giving access so that the users can take advantages of both the digital assistants.

In the Amazon press release he said, "Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us".

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Microsoft is lagging far behind Amazon in opening up Cortana to third-party developers via its own Skills Kit. The release of Amazon Echo a few years ago started the smart speaker race which has since encouraged competition from Google with Google Home and now, HomePod from Apple.

To activate Alexa through Cortana, you would say: "Hey Cortana, open Alexa", and vice versa when using an Alexa-powered device such as an Amazon Echo. "Bringing Cortana's knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal", according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

By the end of the year, you'll be able to tell your Windows 10 PC "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" and talk to Amazon's personal assistant.

Less than a third (29%) of Brits say they would like to own a device such as Google Home or Amazon Echo in future, with 61% of respondents saying they are reluctant to hand these companies more data than they now hold.

Alexa has a new friend: Cortana