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It always feels a little strange when you see two competitors work together. Of course you can watch Netflix on your Amazon Fire TV. Of course you can perform a Google search on your iPhone. The latest collaboration comes by way of Amazon and Microsoft as they’ve decided that Cortana and Alexa should be able to talk to one another. Because two heads are better than one.

Some people might swear by Siri on their iDevice and I’ve started toying around with Google Assistant on my Android device (you should ask Google Assistant what he/she/it thinks of Siri). With this most recent announcement, it looks like they’re going to adjust Cortana and Alexa such that they can communicate with one another, presumably sharing whatever contextual information they can glean from you.

At the most basic level, you might be able to ask Alexa to launch Cortana and vice versa, but at a higher level, maybe you can ask Alexa to look up movie recommendations based on questions you may have been asking Cortana about Matthew McConaughey. Both Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella feel that each voice assistant has its own unique strengths and working together is for both their benefit.

This furthers the continued expansion of digital assistants in general. We’re expecting a new family of Sonos smart speakers with Alexa coming soon. Microsoft has Cortana in a smart thermostat and in a Harman Kardon smart speaker. But getting these AI assistants to work together could take them to the next level.


Jeff Bezos says that he is open to extending this collaborative effort to Apple and Google. He’d “welcome it” and Nadella says he hopes “they’ll be inspired by it.” I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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