Microsoft takes aim at Alexa with Cortana Skills Kit

The Build 2017 developer conference will talk about extending the voice assistant across devices and platforms, including new hardware from manufacturers like Hardon Kardon.

Have you been itching to get your hands on the Cortana Skills Kit?

"We are excited to partner with Harman Kardon to create a speaker that combines premium audio and stylish design with the intelligence of Cortana." said Jordi Ribas, CVP, AI Products at Microsoft.

A voice assistant is only as good as the services it can connect to and the skills it can offer users.

Using the Cortana Skills Kit and Microsoft's Bot Framework, developers can integrate their services into Cortana. Microsoft is even letting Alexa developers fast track their Cortana skills be re-purposing their code. Clearly quality isn't Microsoft's focus right now, they want all developers to jump on-board.

Microsoft is building the framework to enable developers to easily convert Alexa Skills or those created for the new Bot Framework Microsoft also announced. The skills will work much like Skills for Amazon's Alexa platform whereas once a skill is developed, it's then sent over-the-air to all Cortana-powered hardware like speakers, Windows devices, iPhones, and Android devices and will work seamlessly. "Hey Cortana, ask Dark Sky for today's forecast" will trigger a forecast from Cortana, and Windows 10 users won't need to actually install or authorize Dark Sky to start using it.

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