Amazon and Microsoft announced on Wednesday that they've been working on a partnership to allow their respective voice assistants, Alexa and Cortana, to speak to one another. From a report: Starting later this year, owners of Amazon Echos and other Alexa-powered devices will be able to say: "Alexa, open Cortana" to start querying Microsoft's voice assistant. Owners of devices running Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system will be able to summon Alexa via Cortana in a similar manner. Why would customers want that -- especially with the relatively clunky nature of the necessary voice command? The companies say that each voice assistant has its strengths -- features like Microsoft Outlook and Exchange email integration for Cortana and smart-home controls or shopping for Alexa -- and that customers of both companies would benefit from an integration. It's not clear if the two assistants will share voice data in an effort to make each digital assistant smarter. But there is the hope that someday these artificial agents are intelligent enough to route requests to the best virtual assistant for the task without a specific "Alexa" or "Cortana" command.