Alexa has a new playmate, Cortana

Alexa has a new playmate, Cortana

Microsoft and Amazon are linking their personal voice assistants together.

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Alexa meets Cortana Usually people talk to Alexa. Or they talk to Siri. And occasionally they speak with Cortana. But soon two of those AI bots will be able to speak with each other. In an tactical move, Microsoft and Amazon are going to allow their two personal voice assistants, Cortana and Alexa, to interact with the other. For consumers that means one may be able to tell the other what to do.

Alexa and Cortana already interact with other third-party devices. But connecting the two together? That starts later this year, says Amazon, when consumers will able to say, "Alexa, open Cortana." Or "Cortana, open Alexa." For Cortana users, they'll be able to start speaking to Alexa first through Windows 10 PCs, and then eventually Android and iOS devices. At that same launch, Alexa-enabled devices including Echo Dot, Echo Show and Amazon Echo will be able to open Cortana.

So what does this all mean for consumers? After all, do they really need voice bots to speak to each other? For those who don't own an Amazon device, but use Microsoft gadgets, the link will mean they'll be able to access their Amazon accounts, and Alexa, without an Alexa device. Conversely, those using Microsoft-based apps, such as its calendar, will be able to run them through an Amazon device if they so choose.

Smart devices in a house that can't speak to each other are just expensive paper weights. Consumers don't want to hear that they need one system to run their lights, another to update their calendar. The move from Amazon and Microsoft fuses more devices and apps together, ideally seamlessly. And for consumers, that means things in their life just work.

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