MICROSOFT IS flirting with developers of Alexa Skills in the hope of getting them to develop for its own AI assistant via the Cortana Skills Kit.
The company recently said that it would not be going up against Amazon Echo and Google Home, but would rather be relying on "always on" microphones on existing Windows devices to be a smart assistant, meaning no extra gadgets would be required for the "145 million monthly active users" of Cortana.
That said, Harman Kardon has already pledged to build its own smart speaker with Cortana and two-way Skype calling, a feature that Amazon is rumoured to be looking at for a future upgrade.
A report at Voicebot talks about an email directly targeting existing "skill" developers, explaining: "We've made it easy to reuse the code, language models and cards you've created for your Alexa skill — and your Cortana skill will work across platforms and devices."
Following the UK launch of Google Home yesterday, it seems that the dogfight for your smart home has really begun in earnest.
Microsoft has already tried to make it as easy as possible for Android and iOS developers to port their apps to Windows 10, and indeed the version of Candy Crush Saga that comes preloaded with the operating system comes from a repackage of the iOS version.
So far, there has been little overture from Apple over how to best utilise Siri. Apple HomeKit has been around for some time now but has made relatively little impact, and Siri integration remains spotty at best.
We suspect they're saving it for the next WWDC announcement so they can claim they invented it words or something.
In the meantime, the call has gone out from Microsoft for a feature that is expected to come with the fabled Redstone 3 update to Windows 10 due in Autumn of 2017. Redstone 2, aka the Creators Update, will begin to roll out next month but it could take several months for everyone to get their update. µ
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