It is the age of internet phones, voice and retinal recognition, and of course, digital assistants! These artificial entities bring us convenience, and some have also evolved to be entertaining enough to chat with as in the case of Siri by Apple, and they keep evolving.

The beginning of a digital partnership

Two companies — Amazon and Microsoft — are reported to be joining forces on the digital assistant front. It was recently found out that Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana will be integrated.

This means that on a wide range of devices that support the feature, Alexa and Cortana will be together, and can be both accessed on a single phone, tablet, or computer.

Granted, the integration seems to be a bit basic for now. The Verge describes how it would be initially "awkward" if the user tries to access one using the other. For instance, if one needs to access Alexa in Cortana one had to say "Cortana, open Alexa." Likewise, users who would like to access Cortana while using Alexa they will have to say "Alexa, open Cortana" to access Microsoft's digital assistant.

However, the integration is not without its obvious advantages. "This cross-platform integration will also allow Alexa users to get access to some of the more unique aspects of Cortana," Tom Warren of The Verge writes.

For example, Microsoft has built Cortana so that it will be able to access products from Microsoft Office.

Now, Alexa users can get access to those services, too, because of the integration. Appearances of new custom-made Cortana skills are still pretty much up to the developers if they do create it. However, the integration can fill up those skill gaps in the meantime by taking advantage of Alexa's skills.

A well-timed move

The integration seems to be well-timed, as Microsoft is just planning to release a Cortana speaker with Harman Kardon, a US-based audio equipment company.

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It is part of an ongoing move to bring Cortana to thermostats, cars, and other similar equipment.

The partnership started as early as May of last year, when Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, brought the idea to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. This is seen as a beneficial, as both companies are working towards beating the popularity and functionality of Google's own digital assistant.

However, Bezos said that Amazon is open to an integration with Google's and Apple's digital assistants, as well. Nadella himself was not opposed to the idea and said that he hopes Microsoft and Amazon's move inspires more integrations in the future.