In what Microsoft officials are calling "the next step in the collaboration between Microsoft and Amazon," Skype calling support is coming to Alexa devices starting later this year. Microsoft and Amazon announced the latest piece of their year-plus-old partnership on September 20, 2018, the day Amazon unveiled a bevy of new connected devices.
Also: Windows 10 how-to: Ed Bott's free tech support guide
Alexa users will be able to make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls and make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world, according to MIcrosoft officials. Users will be able to say "Alexa, call Jimmy on Skype," or to say "Alexa, answer" when a Skype call comes in.
"Amazon, Skype, and Microsoft have had a collaborative relationship to bring customers new experiences such as Skype and Bing on Fire tablets, Alexa on Xbox, as well as integrating Alexa and Cortana. Allowing customers to link Skype with Alexa was a natural extension of our work together and we can't wait for customers to try it out," said a spokesperson in a prepared statement.
Microsoft previously had touted the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke speaker as the premiere speaker for supporting Skype calls. As Windows Central noted today -- the day that the Invoke, once priced at $200 was discounted to $50 by Best Buy -- that Skype-calling advantage is no longer a real differentiator.
Also: Microsoft Windows U-turn removes warning about installing Chrome, Firefox CNET
Microsoft officials have said they're working to reposition Cortana from an assistant to an "assistance aide." To me, would seem to include assisting with placing and receiving Skype calls. I have to admit at this point I am kind of lost as to how Microsoft hopes to differentiate and position Cortana. Granted, Microsoft execs said they want Cortana not to be just about convenience, but about built-in assistance, but Skype is a Microsoft service...
Also: Microsoft 365: A cheat sheet TechRepublic
In 2017, Microsoft and Amazon announced a deal via which the two would enable their respective virtual assistants to work together. On August 15, the pair opened up initial integration between Cortana and Alexa to the public, beginning in the U.S.
Here's how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade
Microsoft's much-hyped free upgrade offer for Windows 10 ended in 2016, right? Not exactly. The GWX tool may be gone, but all the other upgrade tools still work. The end result is an apparently valid digital license, and there's no evidence that the free upgrades will end any time soon.
How to install, reinstall, upgrade and activate Windows 10
Here's everything you need to know before you repair, reinstall, or upgrade Windows 10, including details about activation and product keys.
After Windows 10 upgrade, do these seven things immediately
You've just upgraded to the most recent version of Windows 10. Before you get back to work, use this checklist to ensure that your privacy and security settings are correct and that you've cut annoyances to a bare minimum.
How to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro for free
You've got a new PC running Windows 10 Home. You want to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Here's how to get that upgrade for free. All you need is a Pro/Ultimate product key from an older version of Windows.