Microsoft and Amazon surprised the tech world with the announcement of Cortana and Alexa co-integration. However, the months plodded past and we heard little officially. In January, they promised more information ‘soon' after missing the release target.
Once again, it's been several months with no word, but an updated support article suggests fans won't have to wait much longer. The change went live on April 27, and reads:
“Cortana and Alexa are still getting to know each other. Soon you'll be able to ask Alexa to buy things, add items to your shopping list, access your Alexa skills, and more.”
Microsoft seems to have a very wide definition of ‘soon' given its track record so far, but it shows it hasn't forgotten about it entirely. The information also gels with what Windows Insiders were told in March. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says Microsoft revealed the integration is in “internal self-hosting.”
The team is apparently working hard to ensure the integration is a good experience for everyone. It says combining the two stack isn't easy, but didn't give any estimate on release date. After missing its initial target, it's likely Microsoft doesn't want to commit until its completely certain the project will be ready.
However, it's also clear that Cortana desperately needs work to keep up with its competitors. Amazon's Alexa has over 40,000 third party ‘skills', and Cortana is trailing behind in its integrations and uses. Microsoft continues to add features, but also has a distinct lack of dedicated hardware.
To date, Harmon Kardon is the only major company to release a Cortana-focused smart speaker, and it's far from a budget model. Instead, Microsoft seems to be focusing on PC and mobile integration, its apps getting several new features over the past few months.
As such, the Cortana-Alexa integration could be essential for convenient use away from the desk. Until then, we'll just have to sit back, wait, and hope more information is coming soon.