Microsoft announced some interesting news during Amazon’s reveal of 15 new devices. Skype calling is coming to Alexa, letting her users voice and video call family members without the use of a PC.
“Users can make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls, and even make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world,” said Microsoft corporate vice president Gaurav Sareen.
To do so, users can say, “Alexa, call ___ on Skype”, and “Alexa, answer.” This will work regardless of the platform the user is calling from, be it PC, mobile, or Xbox.
Continuing the Friendship
Microsoft is hailing this as “the next step” in its collaboration with Amazon, hinting that more could be coming. Previously, the pair shocked the tech community with Alexa-Cortana integration.
Though the feature experienced several delays, it’s now available in preview form, letting Cortana users access Alexa’s significant skill set. Likewise, Alexa users can invoke Cortana for closer integration with their Windows 10 PC.
“We’re excited to continue bringing the best of Microsoft and Amazon together,” said Gaurav, but didn’t announce any details at this time.
However, many are worried about the future of Cortana as Microsoft willing cedes exclusive features to its competitors. Skype calling was one of the USPs of the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke, which hasn’t seemed popular.
Microsoft previously revealed that it’s planning to re-position assistant as a sort of productivity or assistance aid. At this point, it’s hard to see what unique features Cortana will be able to offer, but it would strange for Skype to sit outside of that vision.
Either way, the collaboration should be good for consumers. Alexa is all about third-party integrations, and she just got another major one.