In the ultra-competitive tech world, you seldom see two large tech companies collaborating on anything, much less emerging technologies such as home based AI assistants.
But it appears that Microsoft and Amazon, two of the major players in the AI digital assistant arena, doing the opposite. Apparently, both companies want their respective assistants, Cortana and Alexa, to work together – and work well.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated to the New York Times, that consumers who are currently using Alexa will soon be able to link with Microsoft’s Cortana and gain access to useful tools like calendars and emails. Microsoft Cortana users will also soon be able to link with Amazon Alexa to gain access to its unique set of functionalities such as shopping on Amazon and controlling home technologies.
This partnership between Microsoft and Amazon started back in May 2016 when Bezos breached the idea to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during the CEO Summit. Ever since, the two companies have been working behind the scene to integrate the two companies AI assistants and their services.
More interesting, is the exciting possibility that more AI digital assistants from other companies could also be included soon. While Amazon has not yet approached competitors Google and Apple to join their collaboration, Jeff Bezos stated that he welcomes their involvement, and consumers to have access to as many of those AIs as possible.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, is also open to the idea of including other AI Services. “Hopefully, they’ll be inspired by it,” Nadella confirmed.
Many analysts are betting that Google and Apple will likely decline any collaboration though. Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson explains, “There’s no reason Google or Apple would offer it because they’re trying to drive customers into their own ecosystems.”
The Microsoft-Amazon collaboration should be good news to consumers. The rising availability of digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Samsung Bixby, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana, can make your home a virtual zoo, if these devices do not communicate with each other. Imagine coming home and, after saying “Hello,” you could be greeted with a chorus of several different digital voices. Hopefully, this is the first step to making things a little easier – and the services stronger overall.