Microsoft and Amazon Miss Integration Deadline for Cortana and Alexa

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Brad Sams in Hardware, Microsoft Consumer Services with 25 Comments

Microsoft and Amazon are Partnering on Cortana and Alexa Integration (Updated x 2)

Last year, in August, Microsoft and Amazon announced a partnership that would allow the two digital assistants to talk to each other. At the time of the announcement, the companies said that the integration would be coming later that year.

As 2017 has now come to a close and we are a few days into 2018, the functionality has not arrived. While there are not any major repercussions from missing this deadline, it’s always a bit embarrassing when a company fails to meet its public deadlines which they initially broadcasted.

I pinged both Amazon and Microsoft about the setback and the responses don’t offer any insight into the delay other than the feature will be rolled out in the near future. A Microsoft spokesperson tells me “We’ll have more to share soon.” and Amazon provided a similar response, “We’re working on it and expect to begin rolling it out soon”.

The integration of these two digital assistants offers a lot of potentials as Windows 10 is widely used in the desktop space and Amazon has found its way into the kitchen where Cortana has yet to do so. By linking these two services, it makes it easier to have ‘one’ digital assistant in your house instead of having to use two distinct services.

For those that have been looking forward to this announcement, the dealy is not good news and is likely disappointing. But, based on the responses from both companies, hopefully, we will hear something soon, possibly at CES next week.

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Microsoft and Amazon Miss Integration Deadline for Cortana and Alexa”

  1. Avatar

    pecosbob04

    It is a 'bigly' 'dealy'.

  2. Avatar

    tsay

    Cortana made it into my kitchen for Xmas and she and I are very happy together. :-)


    I've also introduced her to the rest of the family, who've taken to her immediately and welcomed her as one of our own.


    She's a popular lady and on the go all day, playing and chatting freely with everyone - and it's OK, I recognise the problem is with me and I start seeing someone next week to help me work through the bouts of jealousy.


    We're good. :-)

  3. Avatar

    Roger Ramjet

    There is one of those new fangled Surface peripheral device thingy patents that mspoweruser uncovered couple of days ago. I think it has potential, and I think Microsoft will include Cortana in it. Could be their secret weapon. Better be their secret weapon, because so far Cortana has been er, no one ...

  4. Avatar

    davejramos

    With MSFT just discontinuing the Xbox One Kinect Adapter, could Alexa become the new way of controlling the Xbox with voice? That would require Alexa/Cortona integration.


    Kinect voice control is still a feature I use often enough (turn on my Xbox&TV&5.1Surround, go to Netflix, pause/resume, and adjusting volume.)


    RIP Kinect. Your video sensors will not be missed by me. Hopefully a replacement comes along to keep support for IR blasting and voice control! (looking at you Invoke and Echo.)

    • Avatar

      Jacob Klein

      In reply to davejramos:


      I have the Original Xbox One. But I thought the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, both have voice control with onboard microphones, and IR blasting. They do, right? Do some digging to confirm, if you don't have hardware available. I believe I've done my digging already, but my memory is hazy.

  5. Avatar

    red.radar

    Probally one of those things a few marketing VPs from each company announced before engineering had a chance to look at the details under the hood. It will probally just take some time to iron out the technical wrinkles.

  6. Avatar

    SvenJ

    I was looking forward to playing Groove over my Echo Shows....oh wait, can't even do that on my Invoke anymore. (At least I don't expect I can. Never was clear if it played off of OneDrive or not.)

  7. Avatar

    mmcpher

    Can either afford to ignore the other, while Google is out there? I'm still waiting for Alexa to take over my landline calls and open and lock my front door. Now today, Amazon Prime makes a renewed play to be the repository of all my photos. I have for years backed them up to OneDrive and now that I'm on an Android phone as a daily driver, I have Google and Samsung squabbling to be my secondary backup. But Amazon Prime is promising unlimited photo storage and I would like to slideshow photos on my Echo Show and maybe through my Fire TV. I could perhaps do the same through some Google thing, but that would take additional effort and feels like further fractionalization rather than integration. I thought of Alexa/Cortana and integration rather than fractionalization.

    • Avatar

      SvenJ

      In reply to mmcpher: "I'm still waiting for Alexa to take over my landline calls and open and lock my front door. "

      Not sure what you are waiting for. Echo Connect ties your landline into your Echo devices. Pretty cheap too, though I'm not thoroughly pleased with the implementation at this point. There are no shortages of Alexa capable door locks. Try Home Depot, search for Smart Door Locks and filter for Alexa. Says there are 56 of them available through them.

  8. Avatar

    NoFlames

    Will this integration require purchase of an Amazon device?

  9. Avatar

    yaddamaster

    We ended up keeping our Invoke and I'm considering picking up another one. Showed it to my father-in-law and now he wants one.


    Crossing my fingers MS expands this to other form factors and keeps the price at $99 or lower. Heck, hoping MSHK doesn't just cancel it. At least it makes a good bluetooth speaker regardless.

  10. Avatar

    DadCooks

    While I have not used Cortana, I bought an Echo Dot on one of Amazon's sales before Christmas (got the Dot and a TP Link smartplug for less than the price of either). My wife and adult kids' were skeptical at first but they rapidly found it very helpful. I particularly like that there are a bazzillion choices of what I can include in my Flash Briefing. My wife is really liking the ease of switching music. I will have to give Cortana a try and hope Microsoft and Amazon can work together.

  11. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    I just wish Cortana and Spotify would work together on PC. It’s been a while since I’ve tried... did they fix that?

  12. Avatar

    SteveM

    Personally I don't mind having more than one assistant. I have more than one parent, and more the one friend and all is good. Hopefully Cortana will be available on the Sonos One soon, along with Google's assistant and both playing nicely with Alexa. I have Cortana, Alexa and Google assistants on my phone. As long as the start up commands are different, everything will be good. Perhaps I could call one Dad and one Mum. Having them talk to each other would be a bonus of course.

  13. Avatar

    nbplopes

    This I think its nice for people that mainly use Amazon and Microsoft services. I have an Alexa speaker, mainly use it to setup wake up alarms and play audio (internet radio and podcasts). Living outside the US I guess the applicability its relatively limited when it comes to Amazon services. The other stuff its rather geeky both to use and setup.


    Still a long way to go.


    In this line, I am waiting for a platform builder to understand the one agent show is not the way to go. I understand the business attraction for the platform builder to have one agent to rule them all. Even if like in this case, works as a proxy for another. But from a usability perpective such a tight grip over the Voice User Interface IMHO its not a good design.


    What I mean is, just like we install apps, users should be able to install agents. Say if we have a Thurrot app also be able to install a Thurrot agent, or why not just do the all thing together, no separation between an app and an agent?


    By doing this, instead of the user saying, “Hey Alexa ask Thurrot what new today?” we could just say “Hey Thurrot what new today?”. Not only its more user friendly (humans are accustomed to talk to many natural agents), one can imagine this for app developers and brands, it would be really nice.


    The underlying voice interface framework of course would be provided by the running OS, much like we do with apps.


    From an engneering If we already found a sucessfull way to deploy “new features sets” on top of the OS/GUI, that we call Apps, why are we doing it in way that have failed before on top of OS/VUI. The current agents are like having “Outlook” to do everything through augmentation (COM Components) ... something that we all know how it ended. Of course in this world some app developers will be more previliged than others, case in case, MS.


    I have seen this before, it did not work that well for the end user! It looks like it works but ... its a pain comparatively.


    Cheers.


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