Cortana is a unique feature of Windows Phone that separates itself as a platform against the likes of iOS and Android. All three platforms have personal assistants, but what Microsoft has achieved is nothing short of awesome. However, what the company has not been able to do is reach a decision on whether or not Cortana should be shared with other Spartans... I mean, mobile platforms.
Marcus Ash, group program manager for Windows Phone, was present at the SMX Advanced search marketing conference in Seattle where he was quizzed about Cortana's possible future on both iOS and Android. While many would naturally assume Microsoft wouldn't go near the platforms with its new personal assistant, we've seen the company change in recent times and with Satya Nadella at the helm (remember: "mobile first, cloud first"), it's certainly plausible.
It's believed to help Microsoft solve an issue where Windows PC users may own an iOS or Android smartphone, which creates an incomplete experience (the same with Mac owners who wield Windows Phones). The company has attempted to address this with Xbox SmartGlass, Xbox Music, Office 365 and other products, so we could definitely see discussions underway about Cortana. Marcus Ash noted the following:
"It's interesting to think about the future of these assistants and whether they become a reason to buy into the ecosystem. That is the other tension we have. If you play this out five to ten years, and these assistants become the reason you choose Android or iOS or Windows, then what's our position? Could Cortana be the thing that, as a Windows user, (makes me feel like) I've got to get a Windows phone?"
There are hurdles in place, should Microsoft look to launch Cortana on iOS and Android, including the integration of its assistant with hardware on competing platforms. For the time being, however, Cortana is unique to Windows Phone 8.1 and Microsoft fans will be able to rejoice that she will remain a platform exclusive for now – especially if she has any say in the matter.