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Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa agree to talk to each other, but no one cares

Bots that talk to each other — there’s a big headline. Or is it?

For most of us, the Amazon Alexa bot became a way of life over the last year. I use the Echo speaker on my desk. I have a Dot speaker in two bedrooms of my house. I’ve used Alexa on my phone many times, and I’ve tested it on pre-production cars. It’s connected into my home security system. It can read books from Audible.com, and it tells pretty good jokes (at least they are better than some jokes by humans).

Microsoft’s Cortana is an afterthought. It’s right there on my Windows computer, but it doesn’t really provide a lot of value. Because the enterprise has become such a multi-faceted environment — we use iPhones, book meetings through Google, and type docs in Microsoft Word — it’s hard to get excited about a bot that’s really an extension of the Microsoft ecosystem.

[ Also on Computerworld: With Ford, Amazon’s Alexa hits the road ]

Both Amazon and Microsoft have announced that the two bots — Alexa and Cortana — will talk to each other. It’s not really in an extended conversation (that would be a cool idea) but simply as a way to open the other bot. You can say, “Cortana, open Alexa” and then control your smarthome. Or you can say, “Alexa, open Cortana” and book a meeting in Outlook.

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