Alexa has a new friend: Cortana

Pensioners in adult social care will be given Amazon Echos in their homes so the devices can remind them when to take their medication. The voice-activated gadgets which are to be handed out to 50 clients will also remind users when their car

In a first of its kind partnership, Amazon and Microsoft have announced that both company's digital assistants will be able to speak to each other.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said that making Cortana available across any device is "a key priority for" for the company.

To activate Alexa through Cortana, you would say: "Hey Cortana, open Alexa", and vice versa when using an Alexa-powered device such as an Amazon Echo.

With Alexa as a guest on Cortana, for example, Cortana users will for example be able to simply say, "Hey Cortana, open Alexa", and ask Alexa to order diapers using your preferred payment method for your Amazon account.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the New York Times that he would "welcome" integrating Google's and Apple's smart assistants to the Alexa platform as well.

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"It is surprising to me that these competitors have collaborated, that speaks to the quality of their respective CEOs", Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said. Alexa devices will now have access to Cortana's more business-oriented features and integration with Office products, like work calendars and scheduling reminders. So in the future if your desktop is from HP, your smartphone from Apple and your in-home smart speaker system from Amazon or Harman Kardon, having each system's AI being able to communicate with each will make life a lot easier.

Bezos: "The world is big and so multifaceted".

Microsoft is set to launch Cortana-enabled speakers later this year, and teaming up with Amazon gives Cortana the ability to leverage Alexa's vast trove of skills, including the ability to control smart home products and ordering items on Amazon.com.

Amazon has little to lose from the partnership, and Microsoft's Cortana - which has been largely limited to laptops - might get discovered by more users because of it, said Carolina Milanesi, a mobile technology analyst at Creative Strategies.

By the end of this year, you're going to get your very own personal assistant of Amazon on Windows 10. And you can access more than 20,000 Alexa skills through your desktop or laptop computer.

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