Amazon's Alexa PC app now available on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10

Alexa PC app
Alexa PC app (Image credit: Windows Central)

Alexa Microsoft Store

As was hinted at in August, Amazon has finally brought its Alexa for PC app to the Microsoft Store. While the app was previously available outside of Microsoft's digital storefront for compatible devices, you can now download the app and manage its updates directly from the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab).

This is a fairly big deal because it opens the Alexa app up to compatible devices running Windows 10 in S Mode, which are restricted to installing apps from the Microsoft Store. It'll also allow you to manage updates via the Microsoft Store alongside all of your other UWP apps.

Alexa for PCs has been available for several months now, but it got off to a rough start. The app allows you to tap into Alexa, using voice commands to do things you'd normally do with one of Amazon's Echo devices. You can control smart home devices, check upcoming events on your calendar, listen to audiobooks, and much more.

This comes after Microsoft's own digital assistant, Cortana, has cozied up with Alexa as well, allowing the two to work together.

If you're ready to give the app a shot, you can now pick up the Alexa app at the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab). It's currently available in the U.S., UK, and Germany.

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Cortana, or nothing.
  • Cortana is dead. They haven't innovated with it in ages, it's not the native digital assistant on any mobile platform, the head of the Cortana team is leaving Microsoft, and Cortana is being moved under a new department. The bones of Cortana will live on, but the digital assistant is dead. I would love for it to get a resurgence, but it's unlikely. The only feature I can think of that Siri and Google Assistant don't have is notifying you when you receive a text and asking if you want to read or ignore it.
  • "Cortana is dead." You should try the Surface Headphones. Or Windows Mixed Reality. Or HoloLens. Or even Windows 10 OOBE. Or Invoke. Or GLAS. Or try Cortana 3.0 for Android and iOS. Or how To Do is getting Cortana support in December. Or even Amazon Alexa. There's more Cortana today than there was a year ago on more devices, on more operating systems vs. just Windows phone with 2% market share. But you all are so deaf to it. Cortana is very much "not dead" even though you all have been saying that since 2015.
  • The problem is ease of use. On iPhone Cortana isn't very helpful since you have to manually open the app and push a button to start talking. That's too much effort. Same can be said for Alexa on Windows 10. Almost no PC supports wake word, so it's too hard to use. The result is trying to use a digital assistant on a platform it isn't native on is a bad experience. Furthermore, all the platforms you listed are very niche, and hardly anyone is going to have ever seen any of those. So it's correct that most people, myself included, think Cortana is dead.
  • All assistants bar Siri are that kind of useless on the iPhone. That's not Microsoft's fault.
  • That is my main point. Only Siri really works on iOS. Only Cortana really works on Windows 10. There are just too many limitations to using a 3rd party AI on any platform. That is going to be one of the big things holding the whole market back.
  • "On iPhone Cortana isn't very helpful since you have to manually open the app and push a button to start talking."
    That 100% applies to Google and Alexa too so not sure the point. It's also more helpful with Surface Headphone as it bypasses that issue on iOS.
    "Furthermore, all the platforms you listed are very niche, and hardly anyone is going to have ever seen any of those"
    But you can't argue that it's dead/their killing it while acknowledging it's on more devices and platforms than it was a year ago. That makes no sense. Your own personal opinion on it and use are actually irrelevant here. What's the alternative analysis? Microsoft doesn't put it on "niche" hardware? Everything about voice assistants is niche with the exception of home speakers, which are still a small market (ask Apple how it's going).
  • I think DR is right here - voice assistance are still a niche. They're not all that useful. And AI is still not all that powerful - Google still thinks I drive, despite giving it all sorts of explicit and implicit information to the contrary (like taking the train every day). That means Cortana and Microsoft's AI initiatives have lots of room to improve and grow. I like how AI is being integrated into Office. I love the new suggestions for slide templates in PowerPoint, for example. I'd also like more AI in Windows itself. Windows 10 should know what files I want to open by context, or what folders I need to get stuff from from cues like what I'm working on now. That's the stuff that excites me, not voice assistants. One day I'd like Windows to just know what data I want to work with and just go get it, like the Star Trek computer, LCARS (or Wolfram Alpha on steroids). It can be done, and I bet it will be done first by Microsoft. It's the company that makes software for people that do, not poseurs in coffee shops.
  • It is up to you but I think you should just let it go, Cortana is essentially dead. It does not matter how many non Microsoft "devices" you can install it in, the thing is deprecated and far less useful than it once was. I really tried using it on my Android Essential Phone and it was a very bad experience. It was either slow, slow to do what I said to do or simply failed to do what I wanted. (Things like simply making a phone call.) Even on the XBox, it is not what it once was and you cannot do half the stuff one used to be able to do on it with voice commands. Cortana is gone, it just has not realized it yet.
  • I use Cortana more than ever on my HTPC, laptop, Invoke, and Windows 10 phones.
  • "So it's correct that most people, myself included, think Cortana is dead." That's not what you said. Daniel is right; Cortana is alive and well.
  • But the thing is, how much use is Cortana actually getting? How many people use Invoke or GLAS and how many don't find Cortana in the OOBE just a nuisance? How about Microsoft's planned refocus of Cortana? Doesn't suggest Cortana is going so well so far. How about expanding to other regions? I think the last time that happened was in 2015. And how about new features in any regions outside the US? More importantly, are there any signs that these problems are getting better at all?
  • "But the thing is, how much use is Cortana actually getting? How many people use Invoke or GLAS and how many don't find Cortana in the OOBE just a nuisance? "
    These are mostly rhetorical as we have no numbers outside of what Javier Soltero said on Twitter yesterday: "I'm humbled to have been a part of building something that 100M+ users depend on every day and grateful to have worked with some amazing people."
    "How about Microsoft's planned refocus of Cortana?"
    Like conversational UI on Android and iOS?
    "Doesn't suggest Cortana is going so well so far."
    It suggests that making a Siri-clone for PC wasn't a good strategy to begin with - or rather, a limited vision of what AI/MR can bring to the table. How is Siri working out for macOS btw? Again, the fact is in 2018 there is now more Cortana in more places on more devices o more platforms compared to 2015 when everyone thought was great on a dying phone platform that barely anyone used. That's a bit weird. I don't know what Microsoft's full plans are for Cortana. I'm just saying when you use certain products of Microsoft's - especially new ones - it's front and center in the experience. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Not sure what else to say there. If Surface Headphones launch without Cortana support or it's even downplayed I'll change my opinion here.
  • I'm confused by your defense of Cortana. Despite including it on the Surface Headphones, it's pretty clear that Microsoft has dropped the ball on Cortana. Microsoft has nearly deprecated the whole thing. It's not even as good as it once was and the competition has only gotten better. Invoke? Nobody should waste their money on that. GLAS? Looks cool, but once again, if you don't want to waste your money, don't buy it. Headphones? We'll see how many people buy those. Probably not many compared to competitors. What is the user base of all the products you listed? Next to nothing. Cortana may not be dead, but Microsoft has been starving her for the last several years and she is nearly dead. It's pretty obvious. Once again, I'm just plain confused by your vociferous defense. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Sorry, I'll believe Javier's comment on Cortana use, not yours.
  • "It's not even as good as it once was" In what way(s)?
  • Answer his questions, if you would like but, please stop deflecting those things away. Otherwise, it is like saying everyone does it.
  • That's all he does, get used to it.
  • I use Cortana dozens of times every day on multiple devices. That's one.
  • Name those dozens of devices. Show us how they work well and quickly as well. I am quite serious.
  • I use Cortana daily mainly with my Invoke speakers for home automation (lights, thermostat), Music, Radio, scheduling tasks, adding to lists, and current news/weather. I also user her on my Android phone mainly for home automation. She works great for me, for what I need her to do. I do also have Alexa and Google assistants, but end up using Cortana more.
  • Cortana is not as good as Google Assistant or Bixby on Android. You just locked yourself into her by getting devices with Cortana and not Assistant or Siri, so you have no choice but to "use her more," if you want to get any value out of the lackluster devices you wasted money on. That's not her being more useful, that's just the result of your own personal purchasing decisions.
  • gimme a break, all my friends who have ADdroid or iphones say cortana is better, I don't need to press a button to text someone or Cortana automatically reads all my incoming messages without invoking her when I'm driving... ADdroid..NOTHING same with iPhone siri
    and Daniel answered you guys and you're all ignoring facts that he gave you... Cortana is just fine... it's the ADdroid fanboys who can't accept facts..
  • Reality alert - Cortana is being deprioritized by Microsoft. Still supported. Still breathing, technically, but not a big emphasis.
  • "Name those dozens of devices" He said "multiple devices." I use Cortana daily on my HTPC, Yoga 12, Invoke, and Alcatel Idol 4S/Lumia 950XL.
  • 1. Surface Headphones cost as much or more than Google Assistant and Siri Headphones. Why waste money on Cortana when there are such better options? 2. MR and HoloLens are only attractive to me on Mobile, where it is generally cheaper and more portable; in addition to be less fragmented than the PC space (particularly for gaming... that's all that matters to me, personally). 3. I don't even know what Invoke and GLAS are. 4. Last time I used Cortana on iOS, with the Today Widget pinned, she deleted my battery life after being handed Location permissions. Not trying again, ever. 5. Cortana on Amazon "Echo" isn't very useful, because you have Alexa. And if I'm not going to use Cortana or Office 365, I probably am not increasing my digital footprint with a useless Microsoft Account, either ;-) 6. Windows 10 OOBE can be done with vanilla voice actions, that is not impressive. 7. To Do is useless as could Sync Tasks via EAS since forever, and most of its features are already in 1st party Task clients on Android and iOS devices, anyways... Cortana should have hooked into Exchange Tasks and Notes since Day One. That is just Microsoft taking the longest, hardest, least logical road to an end point imaginable; particularly since everyone using Cortana could be 100% assumed to have an or Exchange Account (as it will not work without them). Practically speaking, Cortana is a dead end. Samsung seems to have a lot more momentum with Bixby (judging by all the new service integrations I've been seeing pop up on my device), among other things. And that's hilarious, considering Microsoft got PRAISE for Cortana when she released, while everyone TRASHED Samsung for Bixby. Cortana is virtually worthless on iOS due to the nature of that system, and she is monumentally worse than Assistant and especially Bixby on Android. I don't know why anyone would want to waste battery on her on those platforms, aside from just wanting to give more companies their information because of partisan tech attitudes. Usefulness is not a competitive advantage she holds over the others; and neither is convenience - unless you look at this from the lens of a desktop windows user only (I use multiple desktop OSes - Windows 10, macOS), so her value there is significantly lower than for someone who is more of a "platform partisan."
  • "aside from just wanting to give more companies their information because of partisan tech attitudes" If you give it to Google, haven't you given it to everyone?
  • OK, imma try it. First time user, long time Amazon customer here.
  • At least companies, though it seems hesitantly, are still putting apps in the Store. I haven't found Alexa to be as useful as Cortana but that could be cause I have been entrenched in Cortana since it was announced.
  • Does anyone know the requirements for this app to wake on voice? It says my PC is not supported for that option. Thanks!
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  • The first thing I do when Installing Windows is shut her up so that I can click lightning fast through the prompts. Using Cortana to set up a PC (where she does nothing but read, slowly, what's already on the freaking screen) is a waste of time. Alexa does follow-up questions, by the way. They all do: Google, Bixby, Alexa, Siri, Cortana. You use Cortana because you want to use Cortana, not because it has competitive advantages over Alexa as a digital assistant... and certainly not on Android and iOS phones because she's better there... cause that idea is wrong and laughable - objectively so.
  • Never, ever on one of my machines.
  • What a great move on Satyas part. Now we have the best digital assistant at our disposal and we still have Cortana to let us know when our next Outlook based appointment is. Hope they integrate Google assistant next. As they say... if you can’t beat em join em.
  • What can the Alexa app do that Cortana (with Alexa integration) can't do?
  • The app will only be a relevant deal if Amazon can support more languages. Cortana never took off due to lack of language support. Simply tweaking region settings that only support a few languages is not a recipe for success. Alexa will have a similar fate to Cortana in the short and long run.