Microsoft has announced that those who own Amazon’s Echo devices can now summon Alexa to call their friends and family on Skype or call mobiles and landlines in up to 150 countries worldwide.
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In September, Microsoft announced that users of Amazon’s Echo devices powered by Alexa will soon be able to make Skype calls, and today, the company has issued a statement confirming the development. Users will now be able to make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls, and even make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers in up to 150 countries worldwide. To do this, users will simply need to say, “Alexa, call Sam on Skype,” or if Sam is calling you on Skype, say, “Alexa, answer.” to pick up the call.
Alexa users can easily connect with friends via any device type such as PC, mobile phone, and Xbox. This marks another chapter in Amazon-Microsoft tie-up with first major crossover announced at Microsoft Build. In May, Microsoft and Amazon joined Cortana and Alexa following which users could access Amazon's Alexa on Windows 10 and Microsoft's Cortana on Echo speakers. The company added Alexa integration on Xbox and introduced an Xbox Skill. The Skill will allow users to interact with their Xbox one via voice commands through their Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices.
Recently, Microsoft was seen selling the latest Echo Dot and second generation Echo. Both devices are available online and in Microsoft Stores in the US. According to The Verge, while Microsoft’s own Cortana is falling behind, the company is increasingly focusing on its partnership with Amazon and integration of Alexa in its products and services. Why it shouldn’t be?
According to market research firm Canalys, Amazon regained the top spot with the highest smart speaker market share in the third quarter of 2018. Amazon shipped 6.3 million Echo smart speakers in the quarter edging passed Google that shipped 5.9 million units. Amazon captured 31.9 percent of the market share in this quarter followed by Google at 29.8 percent and Alibaba (TMall Genie smart speaker) came on the third spot capturing 11.1 percent of the market share worldwide.
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