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(Pocket-lint) - Amazon and Microsoft have jointly announced compatibility between their respective Alexa and Cortana voice assistants.

You will soon be able to use Alexa on an Amazon Echo or another supported device to access Cortana features. In return, you will also be able to talk to Alexa through a Windows 10 PC or other device.

Compatibility is planned for "later this year" and you will only need to say "Alexa, open Cortana" or "Cortana, open Alexa" to unlock all the features of each.

It essentially means you can interact with your Windows 10 PC calendar, read emails and more through an Echo. And you can access more than 20,000 Alexa skills through your desktop or laptop computer.

Both companies will hope this goes some way to combat the rise in popularity of Apple's Siri, Google Assistant or Samsung's Bixby.

"The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialised skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience," said Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos.

"It's great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana."

It could even mean that Xbox One owners will gain access to Alexa too, but we're waiting to hear whether that's the case.

Writing by Rik Henderson.