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Amazon's Alexa for businesses program will make the assistant smarter (updated)

There's no word on what this means for that Alexa/Cortana partnership.
AOL, Roberto Baldwin

We all know that Amazon is constantly looking for ways to grow and expand. That's why it really doesn't come as a surprise that Ina Fried at Axios is reporting that Amazon is getting into the business sector with Alexa. Alexa for Business will be aimed at a range of settings, from small businesses to large ones, including hotels and co-working spaces. We've reached out to Amazon for confirmation. (Update: Amazon reminds us that Alexa for Business actually launched in November of 2017.)

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels told Axios in an interview that Alexa "will greatly improve by being exposed to different kinds of statements or conversations." This is because we have different kinds of conversations at work than we do at home. Exposing Alexa to this new type of environment will broaden the virtual assistant's skills and responses.

The company has already gotten started on Alexa for Business. Challenges include finding a way for Alexa to integrate with enterprise software, as well as providing a framework for businesses to write custom skills for the voice assistant.

Right now, businesses can use Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana, and it's unclear how this venture will affect Amazon's partnership with Microsoft. The two had previously been working on a way for Alexa and Cortana to communicate with one another by the end of 2017. However, there have been no updates on that front for awhile, and this new development may signal the end of any partnership between the two.

Correction: After reaching out to Amazon, we've been reminded that Alexa for Business launched in November of 2017. Today's Axios report details how Amazon believes Alexa will get smarter thanks to being in the business environment, but the program itself has already begun. We apologize for the error.

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