Alexa and Cortana integration now available on Windows 10 and Echo

Alexa and Cortana integration now available on Windows 10 and Echo

If you want to access Cortana on an Echo speaker, just say "Alexa, open Cortana" to use the assistant to check your emails, schedule and to-do lists. But, Microsoft and Amazon are keen on leaning into this partnership, now widely showing off Alexa integration into Cortana on Windows 10.

This preview on Windows 10 devices allows Cortana to summon Alexa for further commands with the "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" phrase spoken; and vice versa on Amazon Echo devices with the "Alexa, open Cortana" phrase.

Nearly a year ago, Microsoft and Amazon announced a deal via which the two would enable their respective virtual assistants to work together. That makes sense: Microsoft can integrate Cortana with the Office suite and other apps easier than Amazon can, but developers have already created thousands more "skills" for Alexa than for Cortana.

It's been a long time coming, but Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Alexa are finally working together.

USA customers who use any Echo device, computer with Windows 10 or a Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker - which turns Cortana into a stand-alone digital assistant - can test the new skills starting Wednesday.

Alexa and Cortana integration now available on Windows 10 and Echo

What's most intriguing - and refreshing - about this move by Amazon and Microsoft is that it's so unexpected.

In today's announcement Microsoft bravely suggests that just as users need different people to service cars or offer financial advice, they could use two different digital assistants to manage work and home, while also needing them to collaborate.

"Our goal is to create a seamless integration and this is our first step towards achieving that goal", a Microsoft spokesperson tells CNET.

Today, Amazon and Microsoft are officially unveiling the Alexa/Cortana integration.

The ability to stream music and set alarms across digital assistants are skills that are not available yet. "Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience", said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. "Engineers will use feedback from the public preview to deepen the collaboration between Cortana and Alexa".

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