Amazon has announced that the Alexa voice assistant will soon offer a Cortana skill, allowing Echo owners to access information which is only available via Microsoft’s own voice assistant service.
Users will be able to say “Alexa, Open Cortana” followed by their command such as “When is the next budget review” which is only available to Microsoft’s AI.
The service will also work vice versa, allowing Cortana users to access Alexa skills.
“I want them to have access to as many of those A.I.s as possible.” said Jeff Bezos.
Microsoft has been working with Amazon for a year now, with Jeff Bezos advancing the idea to Satya Nadella in May 2016, and plan to make it more natural in the future, with requests automatically being routed to the AI which can best answer it.
“In my view of the world, because that would be best for the customer, that’s probably what eventually happens,” Bezos said.
“The personality and expertise of each one will be such that if they interoperated, the user will get more out of it,” Nadella noted. “That resonated for me and for him, and then that’s what led to the teams working.”
Microsoft said they had 145 million Cortana users mainly on PCs, and Amazon is believed to have more than 70% of the smart speaker market.
Mr. Bezos said he had not reached out to Apple or Google to invite them to join in the effort and does not know if they would want to.
“I’d welcome it,” Bezos said while Nadella noted that “Hopefully, they’ll be inspired by it. At least that would be my hope.”