Just about one year ago, Microsoft and Amazon announced a major partnership: both the companies are teaming up to integrate their virtual assistants, Alexa and Cortana. With the partnership, Alexa users will be able to summon Cortana on their speaker or any other device, and Cortana users would be able to use Alexa on their device.
After months of wait and delays, the integration is finally launching today. Both the companies are announcing the integration’s availability in public preview, letting users use both the personal assistants on their device. With the public preview, users will be able to use Alexa on their Cortana device, including the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker, their Windows 10 PC, the Cortana app on Android and iOS, just by simply saying “Hey Cortana, open Alexa.” Similarly, on devices powered by Alexa, including Amazon’s Echo speakers, users will be able to summon Cortana by saying “Alexa, open Cortana.”
“This integration will allow Cortana users to ask Alexa to shop on Amazon, manage their Amazon orders and access many of Alexa’s third-party skills. Alexa users will have access to Cortana’s knowledge and helpful productivity features such as calendar management, day at a glance and rich email integration,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Thurrott.com. Microsoft says the companies will launch “additional skills and features” in the future.
Most of the basic features of Alexa and Cortana do overlap here, but Amazon’s huge collection of Alexa Skills will be a big addition to Cortana. As for Alexa users, Microsoft says Cortana’s knowledge, as well as calendar management and rich email integration, will come in handy for Alexa users. Either way, the integration is being rolled out starting today, and it will be available to users over the coming days.
The integration is only available to users in the United States and will be accessible by users “who are interested in early access.”