Amazon, Microsoft Team Up To Integrate Voice Assistants

Doris Richards
September 4, 2017

Microsoft partnering up with Amazon suggests that AI powered agents such as Alexa and Cortana could be better off working together instead of directly competing. Come next year, users will be able to summon Cortana in Echo devices and bring up Alexa in Windows-based environments to help with shopping and more.

Setting up the syncing is easy.

When the Home Assistant ships in October (for $70), you'll be able to dock the Tab 4 or Tab 4 Plus to it and run all Alexa functions off the tablet. Then you can play music through all the devices simultaneously by saying something like "Alexa, play Allman Brothers first floor".

At this point, the feature works with Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. The company says that support for Spotify and SiriusXM will be coming soon. The tools will be available to developers "early next year".

Amazon's Alexa is primarily used on Echo speakers in family homes, whilst Cortana is utilised on computers. The Redmond company, at present, only have some partnerships with manufacturers such as Harman Kardon and Hewlett-Packard.

But Alexa also boasts more than 20,000 skills that offer voice control for everything from controlling smart home devices to ordering pizzas and starting electric cars.

"Combining capabilities allows additive use case patterns".

Two of the biggest names in tech-Cortana and Alexa-are getting together.

However, Google is a distant challenger. This move puts the likes of Google and Apple in a hard position, as they seek to strive on their own by pushing their voice assistants as the true heirs of modern voice technology. Another 12 percent chose the Echo Dot. As of this writing, Amazon is listing the smart home hub's next availability at September 4. "This move potentially ensures the first and eventually expands the last", said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. This time around it let Google and Amazon run away with the market. "The others are slipstreaming Amazon at the moment", he told TechNewsWorld.

To get the multi-room feature to work, users simply have to go into their Alexa app and assign each Echo device to one or more groups such as "upstairs", "downstairs" or "everywhere". But in the future Amazon is looking forward to offering the same functionality across third party devices as well. The Link 300, on the other hand, is meant to be a stationary speaker.

There is Bluetooth and Line-In connectivity on board, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and users can also use a remote to control the Voice One if they don't wish to use their voice or the controls on the device itself. Additionally, it would encourage more users to start talking with their devices.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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