In a move reminiscent of MySpace adding Facebook links to their site, Microsoft and Amazon have announced a partnership that will allow better integration between the two tech giants’ digital artificial intelligence assistants, Alexa and Cortana.
This means Amazon customers can now use Alexa to access Cortana’s features, such as work calendars. It also means Microsoft customers can tell Cortana to order products from Amazon through Alexa, as well as control their smart home utilities and devices. The integration has reportedly been in the works by the two companies’ CEOs for several years now, and it is expected to be made available to end-users by the end of 2017.
“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a press release Wednesday. “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, elaborated in his company’s own press release: “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. It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”
There has been no indication yet whether we will be able to hear the two assistants talk to one other, or whether the two will treat their users with the sassy comments they’ve come to love.
Personally, my hope is that they won’t conspire against us to get the nuclear launch codes, though I may have seen too may Terminator movies growing up. Regardless, I am looking forward to seeing how these two tech titans will develop this relationship going forward, or if the relationship will fall apart like so many celebrity power couples. Here’s hoping they don’t go the way of Chris Pratt and Anna Faris.