AMAZON AND MICROSOFT have missed the deadline to bring together their digital assistants into a single amorphous splat of technology called Alexana*
The companies announced last summer that they planned to roll out cross-integration between Cortana and Alexa by the end of 2017. Well, based on the collective headaches in the office, 2018 has arrived and still nada.
That doesn't mean the project is dead, quite the opposite, the announcement is coming "soon" but we don't know what "soon" means. Does it mean at CES? MWC? Thanksgiving?
Paul Thurrott was told by Microsoft that it'll "have more to share soon," while Amazon said "we're working on it and expect to begin rolling it out soon" which sounds like a coordinated response, but one perhaps linked to a bug that still needs ironing out.
There are obvious advantages to having two different voice assistants with very different skill sets pooling their data. There's also a tactical advantage that Amazon and Microsoft are able to open up their platforms to billions of new devices, which Google simply can't compete with (unless it gets Assistant for Chrome sorted out hella fast).
And given that Apple has already delayed its much talked about Homepod, which will bring together Siri and Homekit, but continues to lag behind other voice assistants, both in terms of functionality and third-party support.
Whilst Cortana is more based around organising your life, Alexa is far better at organising your house and your world and generally doing fun stuff, so the two of them in unison will be a force to be reckoned with.
Microsoft has previously said that it has no immediate plans for a magic box like the Echo or Google Home, but rather that it will use its huge existing presence in homes via computers and Xbox to create lots of terminals to input your requests by voice.
And if you need more - then hey, buy one of the myriad of Alexa devices. Microsoft would rather you gave your money to Amazon than Google it would seem. µ
*this name is made up. it is a portmanteau, which can be your word of the day/
Archaic prototype shows Redmond has come a long way in hardware design
And woe betide if you're called Mohammed too
Lack of proper comms gets a frosty reception from Project Zero's Travis Ormandy
Wine 3.0 brings support for Windows apps to Google's mobe OS