The two archrivals in the field of cloud computing are partnering so their voice-controlled assistants can talk to one another. Fred Katayama reports.
REFEEDING WITH CORRECTED HEADLINE A rare tie-up between two Seattle archrivals of cloud computing. Amazon's and Microsoft's voice-controlled assistants, Alexa and Cortana, will soon be able to talk to each other. Users will be able to tell their Amazon Echo device, "Alexa, open Cortana," then access Microsoft's Office software programs to book a meeting or read work email. Likewise, users of Microsoft's Windows 10 devices can say, "Cortana, open Alexa" so Cortana customers can access Amazon's network of connected smart home devices to turn on the lights, shop on Amazon's website, and order an Uber car, among other things. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the strengths of their artificial intelligence-powered digital aides complement each other to give customers a richer experience. Cortana is strong in the workplace; Alexa is strong at home and shopping. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said, "The mutually assured destruction theory of capitalism doesn't always come to play. Every once in awhile we have enlightened CEOs who recognize they can benefit by collaborations. It's a testament to the ability of Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella. They clearly get it, putting interests of shareholders first." Just like the two CEOs, the two digital assistants will be able to begin talking to each other --- later this year.