Usually, tech companies keep each other at arm’s length, unwilling to share new technologies with the hope of besting their competitors. However, it appears that Microsoft and Amazon, two of the major players in the AI digital assistant arena, are bent on bucking the trend. Apparently, both companies want their respective assistants, Cortana and Alexa, to get friendly with each other.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that pretty soon, consumers who are currently using Alexa will be able to link with Microsoft’s Cortana and gain access to useful tools like calendars and emails, the New York Times reported. On the other hand, Cortana users will soon be able to link with Alexa to gain access to its unique set of functionalities such as shopping on Amazon and controlling home gadgets.
Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa will soon be able talk to Microsoft’s Cortana https://t.co/lQwLRczOcH pic.twitter.com/YK2bzkfaH6
— CNN International (@cnni) August 31, 2017
The partnership between Microsoft and Amazon actually started back in May 2016 when Bezos breached the idea to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during the CEO Summit. Since then, the two companies have been working behind the scene to make the integration a reality.
But there is the exciting possibility that more AI digital assistants from other companies could be joining the mix. While Mr. Bezos has not yet approached competitors Google and Apple to join their collaboration, he revealed that he welcomes the idea. As Bezos puts it, “I want them to have access to as many of those AIs as possible.”
Microsoft’s, Satya Nadella is likewise open to the idea of expanding the collaboration to include other players. “Hopefully, they’ll be inspired by it,” Nadella confirmed.
However, some analysts are betting that Google and Apple will likely decline any collaboration to protect their own turf. Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson explains, “There’s no reason Google or Apple would offer it because they’re trying to drive their own ecosystems.”
What happens if we have to learn how to speak to multiple different digital assistants? My latest for @FastCompany: https://t.co/oyrEbl76nF
— Bob O’Donnell (@bobodtech) July 10, 2017
Ultimately, the Microsoft-Amazon collaboration will be good news to consumers. The rising availability of digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Samsung Bixby, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana, will make your home a virtual chaos if they do not know how to communicate with each other. Imagine coming home and, after saying “Hello,” you’ll be greeted with a chorus of different voices. While it may not run as smoothly at first, the Cortana-Alexa collaboration could be the answer.[Featured Image via Microsoft/Amazon]