Amazon.com and Microsoft Inc. announced Wednesday (local time) that they will integrate their virtual assistants, Alexa and Cortana. They plan to launch a beta service to collect user feedback, before going ahead in earnest with the full integration of their digital assistants next year.
The collaboration is expected to give the two companies an opportunity to expand their markets. Launched in November 2014, Amazon’s Echo accounted for half of the voice-assisted device market as of last year, with about 10 million users. Microsoft provides Cortana on all personal computers (PCs) and tablet computers running on the Windows 10 operation system. Cortana has about 148 million monthly users. With the integration, Amazon can embrace PC users with Windows 10, while Microsoft can provide service to Echo users.
“Korean virtual assistants are less competitive in securing users because they are in service in the Korean language and have yet to support foreign languages including English,” said a Korean electronics industry official. “Major Korean smartphone and home appliance makers Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics should apply their artificial intelligence platforms to their own products to increase contact with consumers.”
Jae-Hee Kim firstname.lastname@example.org