For instance, you can access the Office specific functions of Cortana from your Amazon Echo speaker using the "Alexa, open Cortana" phrase. Today, an integration between the rival assistants that's been in the works for about a year gets under way via the release of a US -only public preview. For example, you might want to use Alexa to order groceries, but you might want to use Cortana to find out something that's on your calendar. After all, the advent of Alexa for Business means that Microsoft likely needs Amazon more than the other way around. Microsoft and Amazon think users, rightly so, will have something to say about the final product, and are actively seeking feedback from users on the quality of the integration, taking suggestions on how to improve it.
Assuming you have a device with Alexa, such as the Amazon Echo, you can summon Cortana to perform actions like checking email, adding items to a to-do list, and getting an update on your calendar events.
Still, it isn't a complete mind-meld. On an Alexa-powered Echo, users need to say "Alexa, open Cortana", (or click the microphone button and say "open Alexa") to ask things like "What new emails do I have?" Once you do, your voice data will stay siloed off regardless of what device you're using. Microsoft and Amazon announced that Cortana and Alexa would be able to summon each other last year and the partnership was demonstrated during Microsoft's Build developer conference earlier this year but we're now able to test the functionality for ourselves. Microsoft and Amazon promise to iron out such things with time.
"In my view of the world, because that would be best for the customer, that's probably what eventually happens", Bezos told the Times. "At least that would be my hope". Alternately, Cortana will be able to ask Alexa to set the temperature of the room through an internet-connected thermostat and access numerous third-party skills other companies have built into Alexa.
The ability to stream music and set alarms across digital assistants are skills that are not available yet.