Alexa, Cor­tana talk to each other

Mi­crosoft and Ama­zon are pair­ing their voice as­sis­tants to­gether to take on Ap­ple and Google

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - MATT O’BRIEN

BOS­TON — Alexa, meet Cor­tana. Mi­crosoft and Ama­zon are pair­ing their voice as­sis­tants to­gether in a col­lab­o­ra­tion an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Both com­pa­nies say that later this fall, users will be able to ac­cess Alexa us­ing Cor­tana on Win­dows 10 com­put­ers and on An­droid and Ap­ple de­vices. They’ll also be able to ac­cess Cor­tana on Alexa-en­abled de­vices such as the Ama­zon Echo.

Mi­crosoft says the tie-up will al­low Alexa cus­tomers to get ac­cess to Cor­tana fea­tures such as for book­ing meet­ings or ac­cess­ing work cal­en­dars. Cor­tana users, in turn, can ask Alexa to switch on smart home de­vices or shop on Ama­zon’s web­site.

The use of voice as­sis­tants is grow­ing. Google and Ama­zon al­ready have smart speak­ers on the market. Ap­ple has HomePod com­ing with its Siri as­sis­tant, while Sam­sung plans one with Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana.

Ama­zon has lit­tle to lose from the part­ner­ship, and Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana — which has been largely lim­ited to lap­tops — might get dis­cov­ered by more users be­cause of it, said Carolina Mi­lanesi, an an­a­lyst at Cre­ative Strate­gies.

“Cor­tana might get a lit­tle bit more out of it be­cause it gets Cor­tana out of the PC,” she said. “For Cor­tana to re­ally get to be more im­por­tant, it needs to be con­sis­tently used ev­ery day for dif­fer­ent tasks.”

Mi­lanesi said that for Ama­zon es­pe­cially, which wants more peo­ple to con­sider Alexa as their first choice, the part­ner­ship also might be de­signed to send a mes­sage to cus­tomers and ri­vals.

“They both get some­thing out of it, which is mainly show­ing Ap­ple and Google that they’re will­ing to work to­gether to get stronger.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

An Ama­zon Alexa de­vice in use in a ball­park suite in Seat­tle.

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