Ina Fried Aug 30
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Microsoft, Amazon partner to let their digital assistants talk to each other


In a rare partnership, Microsoft and Amazon are working to allow their respective digital assistants, Cortana and Alexa, to talk with one another. According to the New York Times, customers will initially be able to summon Alexa from within Cortana and vice versa, but eventually the integration could run deeper.

  • The move reflects the deep competition both face from Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant and the fact that Alexa and Cortana have been strong in a sphere, but not used ubiquitously.
  • Interesting tidbit: The NYT article notes that both companies have been talking to carmakers about integrating their digital assistants.
  • The backstory: The partnership began from an e-mail from Amazon's Jeff Bezos to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In typical Amazon fashion, the proposal took the form of what a press release announcing the deal would look like (Amazon's typical way of beginning a project.) An actual press release from Microsoft and Amazon is expected later Wednesday.
Jonathan Swan 7 hours ago
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McMaster out, Bolton in as National Security Adviser

Bolton. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

H.R. McMaster plans to resign and will be replaced as national security adviser by former U.N. ambassador John Bolton. The White House said McMaster's departure had been under discussion for some time and that the process was sped up to end speculation about the role. McMaster will stay on until mid-April.

Bottom line: This isn’t about ideology — unlike Trump, Bolton is hawkish and interventionist on foreign policy. This is about personal chemistry. 

Khorri Atkinson 5 hours ago
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China slaps reciprocal tariffs on U.S. imports

China's President Xi Jinping speaks next to President Trump. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri// AFP / Getty Images

China announced plans to impose reciprocal tariffs on $3 billion of imports from the U.S., hours after President Trump ordered levies on a range of Chinese goods.

The details: China's plan includes a 25% tariff on U.S. pork imports as well as 15% tariffs on American steel pipes, fruit and wine, according to Bloomberg.

Go deeper: Axios' Jonathan Swan explains the coming trade war.