In yet another not-so-subtle indication that it is pushing Cortana aside for Amazon’s digital personal assistant, Microsoft is now selling Echo smart speakers from its retail and online stores.

First spotted by WalkingCat on Twitter, Microsoft’s Alexa offerings include the Amazon Echo Dot and the larger Amazon Echo. They are available online and from Microsoft’s retail stores.

Microsoft has been aligning itself with Amazon Alexa—and distancing itself from Cortana in the process—since the two firms announced a partnership in August 2017 to closely integrate the two solutions. This deal always seemed curiously one-sided, and with the public preview finally available a year later after many delays, it appears that the end-game is to make Cortana just one of many Alexa skills.

Since then, Cortana has been slowly erased from its few strongholds. Sometimes explicitly by Microsoft.

The software giant added Alexa support to Xbox One and it is bringing Skype to Amazon’s smart home products. And the much-touted Cortana-powered GLAS smart thermostat launched with support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

And on the PC, many PC makers are now including Alexa on their consumer-oriented offerings. And Amazon recently released a Windows 10 app for its digital personal assistant.

It’s unclear why Microsoft can’t simply communicate its defeat and move on. But then we’ve seen this kind of passive-aggressive behavior before. With Windows Phone, it pretended that its abandoned mobile platform was still relevant while embracing Android and even selling Android-based handsets in its own store.

It’s kind of a cruel thing to do to your most faithful fans. And Microsoft is doing it again.


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