Alexa integration comes to Cortana on Windows 10 PCs

Cortana Windows 10
Cortana Windows 10 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft has today announced (opens in new tab) that Alexa integration with Cortana on Windows 10 is now available! The integration is simple and works just like adding any other skill to Cortana. To set it up, just ask Cortana to "open Alexa" and the process will begin.

The integration with Alexa allows Windows 10 users to take advantage of over 30,000 new commands powered by Amazon's assistant, without needing to download anything. To use it, just ask Cortana to "open Alexa," and then ask Alexa whatever it is you're looking to ask. You can also now use Cortana on Alexa-based devices like an Amazon Echo (opens in new tab) device, which is pretty cool.

The Alexa integration also works on Cortana devices, including the Harman Kardon Invoke, and you can even configure it through the Cortana iOS and Android apps. This integration should be good news for Windows users looking to take advantage of Alexa-specific features and services, many of which aren't natively available on Cortana.

Microsoft considers the integration between both assistants as a preview for the time being, meaning there may be a few hiccups and bugs that pop up here and there. Otherwise, it should be available now to users running Windows 10.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

76 Comments
  • I'll pass. Thanks.
  • Agreed. I have no need for Alexa.
  • Of course, it works in the other direction too, if you want to open Cortana from an Alexa device.
  • Cant seem to get it to work in the UK. Connected account, Cortana replies with Sorry, something went wrong , try later.
  • that's because -as with all things Microsoft- it's only available in the US
  • I managed to get it to work in the uk by speaking to cortana and saying 'Open Alexa' it then asked me to sign in to my amazon account :)
  • How did you get it to work in UK?
  • It's like calling your mom on the phone and asking to speak to your aunt.
  • Good analogy, sir!!
  • Yes, good analogy, but if all you have at the time is your Aunt's phone number, then you do what you have to. I'm pretty thrilled about this and will potentially get me using Cortana again.
  • I don't know if this is quite accurate. Alexa is not on any of my PCs. Cortana is on all of them. Cortana isn't on what feels like every single smart device under the sun. Alexa is. At work, most people don't have an Alexa device. At home, most people don't have an always running/listening Cortana device. Before this, if you wanted content from service A but you were surrounded by devices for service B, you were stuck. Now, that's not the case. A better analogy would be to ask your mom who's in the same room you are to get your aunt on the phone so you can talk to her.
  • Very good point.
  • Agreed, I think what you said is more accurate.
  • Hey, Auntie.
  • How long before they drop Cortana and just have Alexa?
  • How long before you stop looking for negatives in everything?
  • Come on. You don't see Siri, Bixby, or Assistant doing this. This is the first step to transitioning fully to Alexa. Very similar to the
    Groove Music/Spotify situation.
  • You're right and siri and Bixby are pretty irrelevant overall. While obviously the ideal scenario is cortana to be the one with thousands of skills and home smart devices, that isn't the case. This is another avenue to keeping cortana in the picture. It also fits with the idea of Microsoft trying to have services on any device regardless of platform or in this case the AI assistant.
  • I do not understand why Microsoft hasn't put out a small cheap speaker. A $29 Cortana speaker would certainly help get the name out there and people using Cortana. Or maybe not. At least they could try. It worked for Google with the Home Mini. They give those things away.
  • Because that would be a consumer product. Microsoft is not - and never has been - a consumer electronics company.
  • I have XBox and Surface products. Are they consumer products or not?
  • " A computer in every home" Bill Gates...
  • And yet you do see both chromeOS and mac OSX doing this with dual boot windows.
  • That's not an accurate analysis. Cortana can do a lot of different things that Alexa can't.
  • Typed "open Alexa" in Cortana on my Surface Book 2 13.5 and it said I am all set up. Typed "open Alexa on my Galaxy S9+ and Idol 4S with Windows 10 and they both said "You'll be able to talk to Alexa by saying open Alexa soon. In the meantime you can use Alexa on any Amazon Echo device.
  • Yes it does not work on my hp elite. I am going to try on pc in a few minutes then retry on phone. Some of these skills require pc set up first.
  • I still can't believe Nadella is pushing for Alexa integration on Windows devices,smh
  • Why? I think it makes sense for the two companies that want to directly compete with Google to work together...
  • Makes sense if you plan on killing Cortana and need something to replace it.
  • Or you have different devices for different reasons. As others have pointed out, you use different devices between home and work, just as one example. By having this in both ecosystems, you eliminate being locked into once device set/ecosystem. This is a win IMHO.
  • I think they should us AI to figure out which one can best complete the task. You'd simply say, "Cortalexa, what's on my calendar for today?"
  • Absolutely. Cross platform everything! I want Google Maps data in Windows Maps! Unfortunately, even the best consumer AI is still pretty stupid. Google still thinks I drive. I haven't driven in a decade. And I've told Google this many times.
  • Yeah, they do have a ways to go with AI. Actually, Google should figure out your walking, so you probably want walking directions. Anyway, with all the major players gunning to be your artificial brain, this should be doable, sooner than later! I want my Cortalexa!
  • Why would you want to use Windows Maps? What Windows devices have GPS?
  • Cortana + Alexa = Cortanalexa?
  • Alana
  • AlCora
  • Corlexa
  • .
  • Maybe Alexa will add Bixby integration, Bixby will add Siri integration, and Siri can add Assistant integration. Then you can ask Cortana to ask Alexa to ask Bixby to ask Siri to ask Assistant what the weather is today. Anyways, this is dumb. Why does Microsoft's assistant need an assistant? Are they that incompetent?
  • It's pretty simple actually. Microsoft just opened up Cortana to be able to do everything that Alexa already can with just a few lines of code. Why reinvent the wheel when Amazon has already done it? Microsoft hasn't been able to get smart home (and really any other skills) worked cleanly into Cortana, but Amazon has. So, why not include Alexa along with Cortana? True, the integration is odd ("open alexa"), but the idea is actually pretty genius.
  • Microsoft has gotten smart home integration (that works really well), the problem is from a recognition and participation standpoint. Consumers are aware of Alexa and her thousands of useless skills. Amazon has manufacturers reaching to make products that are Alexa-capable. There is no device with a label on it that says "Cortana compatible" because Microsoft never dove into that manner. Does not mean it won't work with an Ecobee or Hue or if you get a SmarthThings hub you can pretty much do everything.
  • Why not just use Alexa then? Why do you need a middle woman? It is only a matter of time before Cortana is sunsetted and Alexa becomes integrated with Windows. Your comment "why reinvent the wheel when someone has already done it" is almost identical to Nadella's reason for cancelling Windows phones.
  • If Alexa was the default assistant id turn it off. I don't want a telemarketer living in my PC.
  • If Alexa invades my PC I'd seriously consider buying a MAC at that point. It would totally defeat the reason I use Microsoft products in the first place. At the moment I can simply disconnect the wench and turn off her ugly voice. Clicks disconnect and says "Bye Felicia"
  • Looking at the imbecile running things there, I would say they are pretty dumb.
  • Well I can get as far as signing into my account from here in the UK and certain things work, e.g. Alexa gives the weather for my location correctly but I cannot use any smart devices as, according to Alexa I have none registered (I do).
  • In the UK, I connected alexa to my smartthings and all works well, I can switch lights on/off, trigger routine and scene from my alexa spot.
    I connected cortana to my smartthings and... I can do nothing! Doesn't work!
  • Why is it my alexia and SmartThings are not showing in Cortana skills, I am in UK too
  • This is like calling tech support and them keep transferring you to a different person over and over. Can't I just say Alexa?
  • Please hold. ;-)
  • Yep, useless. Another desperate attempt from Microsoon to make Shittana relevant.
  • Cortexa
  • The thing that drives me crazy about this is. That I still can't play Pandora through the lnvoke. Only way is to connect phone via Bluetooth.
  • I had the Invoke speaker for about a week before I returned it. No Pandora was the main reason. I use the Google home because she just 'gets' me.
  • I use Spotify with my invoke and I also connected Cortana to my Wink 2. Music and smart home works for my needs. If I wanted to order toilet paper, I can click the ok button my web browser.
  • Little bummed that Amazon Music doesn't work via Cortana/Alexa. Well, it seems no music services work via the partnership. Hope that changes.
  • Spotify 😂
  • I was torn between the two services, tried them both when Groove shut down. Then amazon had a sale on the family account on appreciation day, so, there we go. :)
  • I'm using Spotify reluctantly until i have time to put my collection back on OneDrive to play through Groove
  • I have iHeartRadio as my preferred music service for my Invoke. It has a Pandora/Spotify-like component. For example, I can ask it to play an artists, and like Pandora, it will play tracks with said artist plus alike artists and songs. iHeartRadio also has curated playlist for summer songs, and that is kind of like Spotify to play curated playlists. TuneIn, as much as i LOVE that service, can be a bit difficult at times, but it has podcasts that I listen to. I have no issues omission(s) of Pandora, Deezer, etc. However, choice is ideal for those who utilize other services. I don't have smart home components but if/when I plan to upgrading my thermostat, and so on, I will be buying Cortana-supported devices. As far as Alexa availability, I cheer that on. It is interesting experiment that can show how to "democratize" A.I. ("Partnership on AI") and have the various voice assistants interact with each other's services and utilize each other's strengths.
  • No one is to blame you spent money on a device running MS junk software.
  • Tried it. Stupid. Lame. Waste of money
  • Wait, it costs money to connect Cortana and Alexa? /s
  • RIP Cortana
    We hardly knew you
  • This is fun! Can't wait to never use it like I never use Cortana!
  • Honestly Cortana sounds way better than Alexa even though Alexa has all the skills
  • When someone gave me an echo dot, i went browsing through the skills. 99% were useless/gimmicks, 0.5% were what i needed but hardly use cause i have Invokes (SmartThings), 0.5% were low rated (ecobee) Alexa doesn't have as good casual speech recognition for my use.
  • Yeah in reality most smart device features are useless, and Alexa is pretty bad at speech recog.
  • I really like Cortana and wish MS would have kept it going instead of making it less important by asking Alexa to do everything.
  • In limited use of Alexa so far, it's not really a value add - for me at least: 1 - Cortana seems smarter.
    2 - Her voice sounds better.
    3 - she's already compatible with all of my smart home stuff.
    4 - I really don't have the desire to place Amazon orders via my voice (I have Prime).
  • Alexa is way overhyped IMHO.. played with it for about five minutes. Not really impressed and I don't like her depressing voice.
  • Removed the Alexa skill from cortana to night. It's a lot easier to say 'Alexa' than to say 'Cortana open Alexa'. What a waste of time and effort when cortana is still missing basic stuff. Every heard of prioritization Microsoft ?
  • Cortana junk is not needed. No thanks Microcrap
  • So the case is that even if Alexa was available in your region, because it is integrated into Cortana, you would not have it avaialble if Cortana is not available in your region?
  • Amazing number of haters for a feature you don't have to use, see, even acknowledge it's there. And this really doesn't seem like the end of Cortana...Cortana is the search engine for Windows now, and I don't see them giving that over to Amazon. More than likely, Microsoft gets a small percentage of the sales made using Alexa to shop on Amazon. With Microsoft's Windows as a service format, they've limited the revenue stream of Windows. They need to make up for the fact that they're not working on a Windows 11 right now. Also, they're both Seattle-born empires, so combining their assistants will help keep the competitors at bay.