Amazon teams up with Microsoft to integrate Alexa with Cortana

Amazon and Microsoft are teaming up to integrate their digital assistants. You'll soon be able to talk to Cortana by saying, "Alexa, open Cortana" from an Alexa-powered device like the Echo, and vice versa.

The integration opens up new functionality for both digital assistants, giving customers the ability to access the unique capabilities of each platform. Cortana is deeply integrated with the Office suite, and Alexa users will soon be able to access that information — which includes booking a meeting, viewing upcoming calendar events, reading work emails, setting reminders, and more.

Microsoft is set to launch Cortana-enabled speakers later this year, and teaming up with Amazon gives Cortana the ability to leverage Alexa's vast trove of skills, including the ability to control smart home products and ordering items on From Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella:

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.

Bezos said that the integration allows both digital assistants to complement each other:

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.

By pooling their resources, Microsoft and Amazon are better positioned to go after Google Assistant and Siri, but both companies seem amenable to partnering with the competition.

According to The New York Times, the partnership between Microsoft and Amazon kicked off last May, with Jeff Bezos noting that he would welcome a similar integration with Google and Apple. Nadella echoed a similar sentiment, stating that both companies will hopefully be inspired by Microsoft's partnership with Amazon.

The integration itself is set to go live sometime later this year.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.