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Amazon, Microsoft Announce Public Preview Of Alexa, Cortana Integration

Amazon and Microsoft on Wednesday (Aug. 15) announced a public preview of their plans to integrate Alexa with Microsoft Cortana, a plan announced last summer.

In a blog post, Amazon said users can now use Amazon Echo devices to access many of Cortana’s features, such as checking a calendar, booking a meeting and reading email, among other tasks. In order to access Cortana on an Echo device, users say “Alexa, open Cortana,” and they will be connected directly to Cortana.

Customers with a compatible Windows 10 device or Harman Kardon Invoke speaker can now access features they use on Alexa, such as controlling smart home devices, checking the status of orders and access tens of thousands of skills built by third-party developers. To get started, customers, say, “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” or click the microphone button and say, “open Alexa.”

“This is just the start for Alexa and Cortana, which means features like music, audiobooks and flash briefing will not be available immediately. But the experience will continue to improve as we work with Microsoft to add new capabilities and features over time. And because Alexa is always getting smarter, the experience will get better the more you use it,” Amazon said in the blog post.

Alexa will be available to U.S. customers on Windows 10 devices and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, and Cortana will be available on Amazon Echo devices like Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show and Echo Spot. “We’re working with Microsoft to bring the experience to more customers and devices over time,” Amazon noted in the post.

Last August, the companies announced that owners of either company’s smart home speaker will soon be able to leverage the capabilities of the other just by asking.

“The world is big and so multifaceted,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “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.”

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