Starting today, USA -based users who want "early access to the collaboration" can start talking to Cortana via their Echo devices and to Alexa on Windows 10 devices and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, which are powered by Cortana. "Over time, additional skills and features will be integrated", explained a Microsoft spokesperson.
Just a year ago, Amazon and Microsoft announced they were breaking ground on a collaboration to bring their digital assistants, Alexa and Cortana, to each others' devices. Meanwhile, you'll be able to ask Cortana to let Alexa take the wheel on Windows 10 devices, and on the Cortana-powered Invoke smart speaker from Harman Kardon. On August 15, the pair are taking the next step in this process, by opening up initial integration between Cortana and Alexa to the public, beginning in the US. Both the companies are announcing the integration's availability in public preview, letting users use both the personal assistants on their device. Many of Alexa's third-party skills will be available to Cortana users, but not all, though that's supposed to change in the future. Regardless of whether you owned one of Amazon's smart speakers or a device with access to Cortana, the two smart assistants would be accessible with a voice command.
This means while Alexa now offers Cortana users a full range of skills, Cortana also now for the first time allows Alexa to access data held in Office and Office 365 products like Outlook and Calendar.
This feedback will hopefully result in the inclusion of some now missing features, like music streaming and alarm clocks, as both parties intend to keep adding more over time.
Not every feature from both systems is included, but the vast majority will work including home control, something that Cortana remains limited in.
Again, this is a preview version of the Alexa/Cortana integraion so not everything works, e.g. you cant ask Alexa to play an audiobook through Cortana. And ultimately, it would be nice to not have to distinguish at all: if I say "Alexa, what's on my calendar today?" one feels that Cortana should be able to answer anyway.