More detail on the AlexTana love-in, and it’s better than expected

Microsoft and Amazon has released more details about their surprise announcement this morning which would marry their two digital voice assistants in what appears to be the first such partnership.

Coming later this year, it appears the two services will host gateways to each other, allowing users to access many of the base features and even 3rd party skills available on the other platforms.

Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.

With Alexa as a guest on Cortana, for example, Cortana users will for example be able to simply say, “Hey Cortana, open Alexa,” and ask Alexa to order diapers using your preferred payment method for your Amazon account.

With Cortana as a guest on Alexa, Alexa users will be able to say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” and ask when your first meeting is,  set a reminder etc.

“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella. “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”

“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,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon. “It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”

The feature will be available on Amazon’s various devices such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show  and first on Windows 10 PCs and then later on iOS and Android devices.

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