Partnerships, takeover talks and 3D body scans

Cortana and Echo make friends

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Microsoft and Amazon showed off the fruits of their collaboration this week.

In a demonstration, a Cortana Executive used Alexa to order milk and then had the assistant wake Cortana to check her schedule and email. Then an Alexa VP demonstrated using Cortana to make a restaurant reservation before asking Cortana to raise Alex to order an Uber. Following a successful test, it is likely the two voice assistants will link up in the near future, expanding each others footprint into the home and the office. Although, Amazon's recent launch of Alexa for Business might strain relations.

 

Waitrose, Morrisons, who next?

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We started the week with news that Amazon had made an approach to Waitrose, which was quickly rebuffed (or so we are told). And then today the Independent speculated that Amazon will buy Morrisson's. This all comes after the defensive moves by Tesco's to buy Booker and the planned Sainsbury's and Asda merger. Looking ahead, a takeover bid for Morrison's is not beyond the realms of possibility,  Amazon has made a long-term commitment to grocery and at some point, it will look to expand its footprint in UK retail. So who will fall victim?

Amazon starts to scan customers' bodies

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If it was not enough for Amazon to know everything about you and your shopping habits, they now want to know about your body shape. Amazon is inviting customers to their New York office to keep tabs on their body shape and size over a 20 week time period. They are surveying how their body shape changes over time, so they can build up a 3D statistical model which they can then match to real people. The idea, it would seem, is for Amazon to help you find clothes that fit you perfectly or aid customers in visualizing how a dress might suit a particular body type. This would make their fashion offering more compelling and reduce the number of returns Amazon have to process, which is always a barrier to online shopping.

Amazon partners with high-end house builder

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In the US, Amazon has partnered with Lennar, a high-end house builder, to provide Experience Centres. These model homes are fully equipped with smart devices connected to echo speakers, so you can control your lights, shades, locks, music and TV's with simple voice commands. For its buyers, Lennar's includes in the price a visit from Amazon technicians to set up and customize the echo speakers.