Amazon and Microsoft link up voice assistants

Amazon has underperformed the industry it belongs to on a year-to-date basis.

Usually, tech companies keep each other at arm's length, unwilling to share new technologies with the hope of besting their competitors.

The underperformance can be due to a spike in operating expenses as a result of buildout of fulfillment centers in preparation for the holiday season. The idea is that one assistant might be for your personal life, and one for your professional life. Also, its cloud business, Amazon Web Services, has been a key growth driver in recent times. So, if you have three Echo devices and two other Alexa-connected speakers from a different brand, for instance, you'll eventually be able to synchronize music across all five devices.

Alexa's users will be able to access Cortana's productivity features, including booking meetings, reading emails aloud, accessing work calendars - or "reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home" - using just their voice.

While Alexa has emerged as the humanized AI of the moment, it's obvious that despite her many cool capabilities, she exists in the world for one reason and one reason only - to move more product from the silo, albeit the massive silo, of Amazon.com's e-commerce operation.

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CEOs Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Jeff Bezos of Amazon have said that they would welcome the other two tech giants if they were to join the initiative and open up so all voice assistants could get along. "Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience". The rising availability of digital assistants such as Apple's Siri, Samsung Bixby, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana, will make your home a virtual chaos if they do not know how to communicate with each other. Amazon's Alexa is useful in directing Amazon shoppers and is capable of controlling home appliances. But how exactly do you get this setup in your home? The interaction will kick in later this year, according to the firms. Recently, Apple revealed its own candidate for the smart speaker industry, the HomePod, but analysts agree that the company will have stiff competition from established players.

Microsoft's Cortana too has a similar story. Meanwhile, Cortana was announced by Microsoft in May 2015 and released for its Windows Phone product. Are you excited about it coming to Echo devices or about Alexa coming to Windows 10 devices?

The partnership will likely help Amazon and Microsoft gain an advantage over their closest rivals, Google and Apple. Parts of the website may not work as expected without them.

Cortana works mainly as a reminder while Alexa does so much more. Unfortunately, getting to and using Alexa won't be as easy as Google Assistant, as there are some limitations.

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