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As posted on Cortana will soon have a lot more skills to show off

Microsoft is finally ready to open its assistant up to developers. 

The Cortana Skills Kit, which allows developers to integrate their services with the assistant, is now in public preview, Microsoft announced. The news comes just days after Harman Kardon unveiled the Invoke, its Cortana-powered speaker.

Microsoft first teased the Cortana Skills Kit when it announced the speaker late last year, but hadn’t made it widely available to developers. 

Just like Alexa Skills for Amazon’s Echo, the Cortana Skills Kit lets developers build integrations so users can interact with their services via Cortana commands. Cortana Skills will be available on Cortana across all its platforms — desktop, mobile apps, Xbox — as well as the upcoming Invoke speaker.

Developers like Dark Sky, iHeartRadio, Domino’s Pizza and OpenTable have already created skills for Cortana, which function just like their Alexa counterparts. 

During a demo onstage at its Build developer conference, Microsoft demonstrated how Cortana could work with a number of services, like LinkedIn and Microsoft Teams, in different settings. For example, you could start your day with the speaker, and then move to your phone or desktop.

Making these types of experiences available more broadly to developers also lays the groundwork for more hardware partners for Cortana,

The Cortana Skills Kit is different than the Cortana Devices Software Development Kit (SDK), but Microsoft announced it’s working with HP and Intel on reference platforms to bring more Cortana-powered devices to market.

There were no further details on when these new parters would make anything available — Harman Kardon’s speaker is expected later this year — but now know there will be a lot more compatible services once Cortana-powered hardware starts appearing in the wild.

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