Microsoft has now started selling Amazon’s Echo devices in its retail stores. Twitter user WalkingCat spotted that Microsoft is selling the latest Echo Dot and second generation Echo. Both devices are available online and in Microsoft Stores in the US. The move follows Microsoft forming a partnership with Amazon to integrate Alexa and Cortana, and previewing this feature earlier this year.
Microsoft has been increasingly focusing on its Amazon partnership and Alexa integration, all while Cortana has fallen behind its main rivals this year. The Xbox One now supports Alexa, and Amazon has even launched its own Alexa Windows 10 app to bring the digital assistant to all PCs. Cortana now seems to be in a strange spot at Microsoft, with the software maker increasingly pushing it towards more business-focused areas like chat bots rather than its original consumer-focused launch.
Cortana originally launched on Windows Phone more than four years ago before it found a fresh home as part of the core search functionality in Windows 10. Microsoft has now been experimenting with further distancing Cortana from the Windows 10 search experience, and the 19H1 update due early next year will include some changes.
While a redesigned Cortana launched on iOS recently, it’s still not clear what Microsoft is planning for the digital assistant’s future. Microsoft’s Outlook for iPhone boss started overseeing Cortana earlier this year, but he’s now leaving the company before the end of the year. Microsoft recently moved Cortana out of its AI research division and into its Experiences and Devices team, so we’ll hopefully learn more about what the company has planned for Cortana very soon.