Should UK Cortana skip the British accent and use Jen Taylor instead?

It is Friday, and as we all eagerly wait for the Xbox Music app update (fingers crossed), we figured it is time for our weekly poll.

This week's poll is a hot topic: Cortana and local accents.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that Cortana is heading to China and the UK as 'betas.' This expansion means they work, but they are missing some features too, which is not controversial. What is controversial is the choice for voicing.

Microsoft is trying to do the right thing. They want to create a personal assistant that fits in with one's culture and country. Part of that is making her accent localized for the relevant country or territory. After all, GPS apps always come with 'voices' to choose from as clearly people want to hear someone that sounds like them. The Cortana team even explains:

"The purpose of this philosophy is to deliver on our customer promise to provide the most personal assistant that scales to different languages and cultures."

Alternatively, maybe not.

The problem is Jen Taylor, the original voice behind Cortana from the video game Halo. She is graciously giving her voice to the Windows Phone Cortana but only for those in the US.

In the UK, they are getting another voice actor but with a "British accent." I used quotes for a reason. There is no British accent. Broadly speaking, there are English, Welsh, and Scottish accents, and even those are broken down further into regions. Having studied sociolinguistics and working with a few Brits, I can say they very much pride themselves on their accents, which reflect the areas they are from. It's a complicated fair, and not isolated to the UK. (Seriously, getting Rich Edmonds, Jay Bennett, Alex Dobie and Richard Devine in a room together? As an American, hilarious.)

Interestingly, the best way to unite those in the UK over language may be to use Jen Taylor. It is not hard to sense the blowback, at least in comments here on this site. This controversy does raise the question: Is this Halo/Jen Taylor fanboyism rearing its head or is Microsoft truly making a mistake here? By that I mean, once people hear UK Cortana, do you think this will all blow over?

The solution may be an obvious one, one that I think most of you are going to opt for: give users a choice between the two. As I do not work on Cortana, I have no idea what involves creating such a scenario, though I presume there would be some issues to work out (read: not that easy).

Either way, let us know by taking the poll. The problem with this referendum, of course, is that many non-UK people are going to vote on it, swaying the results. So for you non-Brits out there, think of the bigger picture and what this may mean to your country or region going forward.

Want to vote but are using our app? Just swipe over and use the 'Show in browser' option and vote there (or use m.wpcentral.com)!


Reader comments

Should UK Cortana skip the British accent and use Jen Taylor instead?



Nah cuz only gamers will appreciate it and eventually if Windows Phones are more mainstream users will feel like they are not being catered to.....I do think it should be optional...I always love options

As has been pointed out in the article, the "British" accent exists only to Americans. By "British" they tend to mean "English"... So the question really is, are we happy for Cortana to speak RP or Estuary English? Personally I like the Jen Taylor voice but I can see why it might irk in a day to day environment to have that.

The point of having Jen Taylor is that she is 'the' voice of Cortana. Cortana never spoke with a "British" accent so you might as well get any other voice actor to voice the UK version, as there's no precedent.

Question: If you live in the UK and you play halo, was there a different voice for Cortana in the UK version of Halo?

If yes, then you should use that actors voice.

If no, then maybe just use jen Taylor because that is what they are expecting it to sound like.

Again your appealing to a game audience where the vast majority of owners won't even know what halo is..... The amount of people I hear laughing at the name Cortana should already left you know that the vast majority and I emphasize VAST don't know who Cortana or what Halo is so to cater or prioritize to that extremely small demographic is silly at best. Considering that most who love Halo most likely have an Android or iPhone so you aren't even really giving that feature to at all Halo lovers just the really small group on Windows Phone

I guess I see an opportunity for Microsoft to capitalize on the big story behind Cortana.  I mean the history or future story of Cortona as she has in the present just been born but we've been given a taste of what she will become through the Halo games.  I'm not all that familiar with Halo myself - I've only played Halo Reach and Halo 4.  I havent finished either one of the games yet either.  But even with my limited knowledge of Cortana from Halo, I can take something away from that knowing that in Halo she is of extreme value.  From the part of the game I've played through, Master Chief is willing to risk his life to save her, so she must be something special.  Ok, so that's her in the game.  But what about real life?  Imagine Microsoft producing a series of commercials or even just youtube videos to walk us through who Cortana is and then who she will become.  I think Cortana as a character could be a powerful vehicle to spread the word.

I am still curious who voiced Cortana in the UK versions of Halo.

Another way I was looking at it was at sometime, someone had to make the decision if they would have different voice actors for each region.  So, following the same logic applied to creating the game, which is a big budget operation in itself and you know they have to pay attention to those things as well when they make a game, and for consistency sake, i think it would good for them to keep it as consistent as possible throughout the regions.

I was a big supporter of Jen Taylor being the voice of Cortana in the United States because it gave all of the people who love Halo that extra special bonus if they owned a Windows Phone (like me) and for those who don't know who she is will either just know her as this character that lives in the phone with a good voice and witty personality OR they will learn from others who Cortana is.  I've talked to people who have Android phones, who know who Cortana is and they have never even played an Xbox or Halo for that matter, but they know where the name came from.

I think its important and it makes her a character with a far more interesting story then Siri or Google Now.

So, that's pretty much why i think who ever voiced Cortana in the UK version of Halo should also voice her in the UK windows phone version.

Ultimately though, for me personally, it doesnt matter.  I live in the USA and I got the version of Cortana I wanted.

I actually don't know exactly what they should do, but it seems reasonable that UK people should get a UK voice.  Most TV shows and games don't use the same actors for all regions.  So, if it has to be a different voice, i do hope they go with someone that has some underground popularity in the UK.  It will probably be an unknown actress though.





Exactly.  If you don't who or what Cortana is or sounds like then it doesnt matter to you if Jen Taylor or Beyonce is the voice of Cortana, BUT for those of us who know who Cortana is and we know what she sounds like then why not throw us a bone and let Cortana from the Halo game live on in Windows Phone?

I guess answer me this: Because you don't know who Cortana is, does that mean Jen Taylor can't be the voice of Cortana on Windows Phone?

The argument isn't for windows phone as a whole but in specific markets and the generalizations of cultures just because it makes sense to you and what you know does not mean it is mirrored elsewhere

I've never played halo but I on the other hand expect them to use the same voice and have the story integrated to my personal assistant. Otherwise don't bother calling her Cortana

Agree! And I don't think most of the general public would even think it was cool that the voice and name come from a video game... might even seem childish to some.

I say use the voice actress from the game, but make her have an accent for the region. Then watch as every one in other regions try to download the accent they like best.

Voice actors don't always mean "voice impressionist" some times "voice actor" is literally just someone who uses their voice for a company/product etc

Nearly all pro voice actors/actresses have a slew of accents and dialects to employ. Exceptions are the "In a world..." Movie trailer guys. :P

The "British" accent exists for Italians as well, and for every other non-English person, I guess. The common idea for the British accent itself is the accent of a typical BBC speaker, with the rising-falling intonation and stuff...
I personally like the American accent way more, it seems more "natural" when you hear someone speaking with it (imho) :D

That's exactly what they mean. It's probably a 100% chance that UK Cortana will have some sort of posh English accent. People just refer to the Scottish or welsh accent as exactly that

There's something about the Scottish accent that makes me smile and want to laugh. I mean no disrespect. It's just something I find amusing. I like it and if I could pull it off, I'd talk that way all day.

yeah, scottish feels like the british equivalent of the canadian accent.


as a german, I do like the irish and scottish accent quite a lot.

If they are going to go British accent for Cortana, why not go all the way and change the name to Austin and give the app the British accent of 'Austin Powers'


"Yeah Baby"

I would agree with BBC standard English as it would cater for the majority of England in my opinion. I know there's a lot of accents in the UK but the BBC's "coming up next" voices are understood reasonably well throughout the UK. Quite a lot of people I know in the UK prefer a British voice for a "personal" assistant rather than American, otherwise it makes us feel like barely any effort was put into making the UK version. If Microsoft really wanted to do an impressive job in the UK, they should have different voices for the major cities in the UK and a generic BBC standard voice as optional. That way, you'll get the closest matched voice to your county without a different voice for every single county.

There is no English accent either. Maybe we should say the Queens accent because that's how Americans think we all talk

I think it would be far better to have Brad Pitt do it with the accent he used in Snatch....whatever the hell that was.

It wouldn't really bother me to be honest. Although if there was the option I would probably cycle it between irish, scottish, welsh, geordie, scouse, brummie for comical effect

I would say turn the argument around and look at it that if Microsoft was English and the personal assistant was called Jeeves or Del Boy or they got someone like Penelope Keith to voice it would the Americans be happy and voting to keep it? I don't think so. They should get a good professional voice actress with not too stronger regional accent but make sure we don't have someone that could spark a debate over the North south divide lol

I guess it depends on the accent. Most people I've met think English accents (Australian, NZ & SA too) are quaint and charming. The same can't always be said about US accents... It really depends where they're from. The problem is a lot of US accents are quite nasal and so quite harsh to our ears. Having said that, I don't recall Cortana having an annoying accent, but I haven't heard her speak on Windows Phone.

That's not really the same argument. Is Jeeves a well known character from a video game the personal assistant is named after? No? There you go.

Apparently MSFT make video games of some sort! Either way We need an clear English accent on Cortana. No regional accents please. British Is how Americans describe us but I am English, not Scottish, Welsh or. Irish. For that matter I am not British either.

Jeeves is a week known character from a programme called Jeeves and Wooster. He is a personal assistant. I used that as an example and I think you miss the point. So what if it is from a game. Not everyone plays games

True. Gamers, including me would appreciate Jen Taylor. Though we're not the only people, I think there should be a choice. I wonder what accent will be used in Ireland.

As I don't play halo it wouldn't mean much to me. It would just be an American female voice. I am sure that Jen Taylor would only mean anything to uk gamers. If I had to have an American accent I would have Marjel Barratt, that would be kinda cool but she isn't alive anymore

Yeah. They should just give a choice.
"One for the Gamers" and the other for everyone else.

Personally I like the English accent over the American one... Provided it's 'posh' / Jane Austen English! Lol.

Why call the app Cortana and not give everyone the choice to have Cortana aka Jen Taylor. Yes of course people that have never played the game will just hear a voice assistant and be none the wiser but as MS said they listened and due to public demand, Cortana VA was born. Have it so that all the hard work the guys at MS have done to regionalise the app for that particular country as mandatory but have the option in the settings to chose native or Cortana. As I stated in another comment of mine, its not the voice but the programming that does all the work. But back to my first comment, why call it Cortana when you cannot have Jen Taylor, if that's the case then we should start a debate of to call it in our own countries just like China have changed theirs! Give us the Choice of Cortana ir don't call it Cortana!

I want to be able to choose a male voice dammit! It doesn't matter to me where she's from if she's a she, women are nasal and screechy, give me a deep make voice in an RP accent any day of the week! (I'm from the SouthWest UK -Cheltenham) I also think that there will be an abnormally large number of people on here voting for Jen Taylor, not only because there are a lot of Microsoft fanbois, but also an abnormally large number of gamers, every single person I know with a windows phone has never played the game, and never will.

While I support the option for you to have a male voice, saying "women are nasal and screechy" is a sweeping generalization. We have a plethora of voices that change depending on location and ethnicity. :-/

Exactly too many gamers are caught up in it.... The large majority of owners will never play or even know where the name comes from....

Having the option would be so much better. I'm totally going to keep my region set to US if there is no option to switch to Jen Taylor's. As a UK citizen it would really turn me off using Cortana if there was a BBC style voice. Far to pretentious for everyday use!

Indeed. As a gamer with many gamer friends I feel WE should have the option to choose Jen Taylor. BUT I know that's just not practical for many people who don't CARE about Halo.

SO, Cortana's activation SHOULDN'T be linked to which speech option you have selected.

Edit: Also, some Australian accents really piss me off. I would REALLY much prefer hearing even the British voice if I have to than an Australian voice.

Seriously, just don't link the speech options to Cortana and it'll all be fine. LET US CHOOSE.

i think we live in a world where sometimes, just sometimes, there is too much choice

i am english and am happy with cortana being american as i understand that is where it originates from

what they might want to do is improve/adapt the ability to recognize dialects/languages other than american for a smooth and productive voice assistant, but the output, for me, should match what the character is, american

in fact, it could be more devisive to settle on an british/english accent, just because there are so many and having it american makes it removed from controversy within the uk, lets face it, someone in scotland, wales or northern ireland are probably happier to hear an american voice than a "queens english" accent.

The more voice options, the more storage space it takes up, the more people complain about not getting the advertised amount of space on the phone. I see the dilemma for Microsoft.

My 928 has over 10GB wasted in other storage with GDR3. I don't think MS is too concerned about the apace on peoples phones.

Daniel, you very much so have a Canadian accent. I'd enjoy that room if you added yourself to it. You have that Canadian hockey accent going pretty good, it's especially noticeable at the end of your videos, "take care everybody." :)

That's odd since I'm not Canadian, lol. I do have a New England accent, with heavy exposure to New York City and eastern Massachusetts.

That's kinda creepy'ish thing to say about Daniel. I'm kinda scared for you Daniel -
You should start ending your videos with "mericuh everybody" and fire a gun at the ceiling.

It's hilarious for a few reasons: one, they all sound funny to me, but funny awesome, like hearing Monty Python growing up.

Two, all four of those guys are from different regions, and they all think each other's accents are 'rubbish'. Jay evidently speaks very posh. So it's great to hear them tease each other about the way they each talk, meanwhile I find it hard to discern. Then it gets even more funny because even though they make fun of each other, there is also some other English accent (or Welsh) that is way worse, according to them and they all universally agree "yeah,they way THEY talk is terrible."

Then we move on to them trying to do an 'American accent' and vice versa. It's great.


There are acceptable accents and shit accents over here. We all like to look down on anyone who can't talk proper, subjectively of course.

A lot of regional speakers would say "proper", even though it's technically incorrect. "He can't talk proper what like we do" :P

And what is wrong with the Birmingham accent? most people get it confused with the black country accent or "yam yam" as its known in these parts. If anyone has seen the BBC period drama Peaky Blinders, there is some truly awful representations of the Birmingham accent, mostly ending up sounding like they are from the black country.

As someone who has lived in both Birmingham and the Black Country.. Can we both agree they are both equally 'pants'? Despite living there for years.. I still couldn't figure out how to answer 'Orite?'.. Is is, 'Yes thank you?' Or 'Yes amU?' Or just 'Orite'? Turned out the latter.. Strange people...my people :/

I'm with you. That sounds like a good time to me. Mix in some alcohol and now you've got yourself something worth recording for future entertainment purposes.

Needs t' be a good solid Yorkshire accent. None of this here upper class snooty twoddle we English often get branded with. Besides if its outside Yorkshire its not worth bloody visitin!

David Tennant's real Scottish accent or the 10th doctor's accent? Actually, if they make the voice configurable, let's have both of those as options.

I think we need Moss from the IT Crowd!

"Would you Adam and Believe it! The traffick is mother-flippin' bad today!"

Keep Jen's voice n give us the choice. I hear enough Aussie accents in one day is refreshing to hear a different accent

Yeah if cortana ends up with an aussie accent here in Australia ill throw my 1020 against a brick wall. lol

That can be true, in like saying Americans ALL say ya'll... only true sometimes.

An Australian accent would be great, need to be done well, not by some yob, lol.

Around Philadelphia, it's often said as "wood-er". I've long stopped saying it that way,, but recently realized that I still pronounce "water ice," the preferred local term for Italian Ice, as "wooder ice."

Lived in Philadelphia my whole life, have never heard it pronouced with a "oo." It's true that most Philadelians pronouce the t as a d but it sounds more like "wha-der." The closest I've ever heard to the "oo" is maybe a South Philly "Italian" accent but even then it's not pronouced "woo-der."

I think they should approach the Queen and see if she's interested. She has a good sense of humor and her voice talking to millions long after she's passed on might even appeal to her. Hell, the woman is ancient. Can't have too many years left.

Definitely. By defaulting to regional voice, any Halo fans can manually enable the Jen Taylor voice they've come to love, meanwhile the average consumer won't be confused when their phone has an accent that isn't their own.

Agreed. While at it, they could also implement an option to enable Cortana for those of us whose regions are probably years away from being supported. I'd be happy with any English variant of Cortana without having to mess around with my regional settings.

I'm glad you've finally come around to realise the issue, though the sarcastic response I received wad unnecessary and highly unprofessional.

Anyway, if the Cortana team really do read these forums as suggested in the recent Q&A then please, for the love of all things sacred at least give us the option!

I think on April 1st, they should put out a press release that Cortana now speaks in Welsh, but have her just speak gibberish and wait and see if anyone can tell!

Well yeah cos the 'British' accent version is going to be rubbish and probably sound like Helen Mirren.

The dialects of British-English vary but there is a variation of pronunciations and colloquialisms. There are variations in many parts of England, Wales and even Scotland and not to mention Scottish Gaelic as well.

So it'll be interesting to see what she/he will sound like but no doubt it'll be a poor American imitation we normally see in films (which no one speaks like)

Siri sounds like an American British accent.

I don't know why Americans insist on using this accent but when you see plenty of British actors in American programs putting on an overly fake British accent rather than just using there own. It makes no sense.

Hollywood bad guys with "British" accents answers that question pretty well... if you're going to cast someone for a character with said accent, why not get a native from that country?

Cortana only has one American accent and we have regional dialects too.

North Eastern
Deep South
Northern midwest
....and on and on.

I doubt we get them all.

Though I'd love if she sounded like Howard's mom from Big Bang Theory.

There's a difference though.

Yes, in the US we have those but there is also 'General American', which is often used on TV for news broadcasters, which is why you rarely see, I dunno, someone on ABC who sounds like Gambit from the Xmen. (UK have this too, known as British Received Pronunciation (RP))

However, in the UK, language and class are tied very closely together with greater class consciousness there than here.

Odd, I think many Americans tie class to accent as well, which is bullshit but sadly true.

Regardless, as many options as Microsoft can muster would be fun.

Some do, like the southern accent = poor/dumb, etc. But it's not nearly as political as the UK. Seriously, accents to them are like different types of micro brews to a connoisseur. Their knowledge - and associations - with the hundreds of regional accents is crazy.

Then again, in the US we also have AAVE (African American Vernacular English), which to laypeople is very controversial. That's probably a good example: imagine if Cortana sounded like Ice Cube and Microsoft tried to pass it off as 'US English'. Yes, it is, but it's also AAVE, which is a dialect.

Going back to the original post, we are going to get a "generic" British (newscaster) accent for Cortana to please the majority not the parts.

Right, that's the intent. But it remains to be seen how good it is/how people respond. Fingers crossed. I think this will blow over, personally.

Personally i think for they should ship Cortana UK with a British person doing the voice but with the option to switch voice... I wouldn't think it would be to hard to get her to recognize either spelling as there is no over lap in spelling. No word spelled differently has a different meaning in either country, for instance while we use colour, color has no meaning, and as far as i know you dont use colour with a different meaning to color...

What American accent does Jen Taylor have? Granted it's generic American but it sounds educated. To us in the UK you can easily identify an American accent, mainly because of the amount of TV that is shown over here, but we're also exposed enough to be able to identify regional variations, Deep South, New York, West Coast surfer (dude), etc. I'm fortunate enough to have a neutral British accent, so I can make it into anything. It's great fun speaking like a Welshman for a laugh..

I agree that UK people has this thing about their accents. For example, when a non-native language speaker speaks with US citizens, they tend to adjust to a kind of a simple International accent and try to use the set of words the other person is using (no riddles there). While the UK people insist on their weird accent (belonging to the street they are coming from) and expect everyone to understand what they are implying. And yes they have variety of accents there, one can easily lose count.

I think this is the way people in US are educated, "communicate to understand others" as opposed to "communicate to dominate your pride".

This is when a Chinese guy asked: "What's so great about Great Britan?"

Maybe it's just me, but when I think of Southern Americans I think of oil tycoons or big ranchers (albeit also fitting the overweight, ignorant, redneck stereotype) rather than in poor people.

Oil tycoons and ranchers would be Westerners, not Southerners. In America, Southerners are generally thought of as from the old Confederacy (basically from East Texas all the way to Florida) so if you want to think in stereotypes, think cotton plantations, and Colonel Sanders.

If you know your old cartoons, Foghorn Leghorn was a southerner. Yosemitee Sam was a westerner.

Yeah, you are probably right. I was thinking of George Bush, Rick Perry, ExxonMobil, etc. (after all, Texas has like 1/3 of America's known oil reserves), and the whole cowboy culture they seem to have in Texas. When I think of the American poor, I think of the people who live in the inner city area of New York, Chicago, etc., not so much the poor in Mississippi (who I know are probably the poorest, but don't get that much attention outside the US).

"I was thinking of George Bush, Rick Perry, ExxonMobil, etc."

I've heard that corporations are now people, but I never imagined that they also had accents! ;)

Dialects speaking Cortana can be a good marketing weapon if MS plays it right.  It would be a tremendous task and investment to expand the Cortana into the regional dialects, but it could also be a powerful tool to win WP converts.  WP has a ever increasing app gap to fill in order to catch up with IOS/Android devices.  The dialects speaking Cortana can win customers for WP through a back door by talking intimate and friendly dialects to those dialect speaking folks.  For instance, the Cantonese speaking population in the world is more than 100 millions which is the size of British, Canadian and Australian combined.  A Cantonese speaking Cortana will have a big draw in that population.  Obviously, you can't cover all the regional dialects.  But if you select the right languages and dialects carefully to invest, it can help building WP crowd in much broader scale, not based on the app statistics.  You don't have to wait for WP app developers to catch up.  It probably never will.

The best comment I've ever read on here- thank you! TBBT is hilarious. Love how Howard shouts back at his mum- I laugh so hard my eyes water lol!

No. Hate to break it to people but the only people who even know who Jen Taylor is are people who are REALLY into her voice work.
So no. Lets not alienate a whole demographic because we think things should revolve around us.

In reality though the amount of Halo fans in the world is not insignificant (measures in the tens of millions) which at this point is almost as big of an audience as Windows Phone itself. So if you call something Cortana and it answers questions like it is Cortana, but it doesn't sound anything like Cortana you are going to disappoint, annoy, anger, turn millions of people against Windows Phone. And to turn people off on Windows Phone over something as arbitrary as including the correct voice actress is idiotic. The real Cortana voice should be at minimum an option in the Cortana product otherwise they never should have called it "Cortana."

Yes, this! MS have already made the decision to call her Cortana so they need to keep the voice of Cortana as it is known. I prefer the "British" accent on my sat nav (although I've never met a person who sounds like she does) but if Cortana sounded like Joanna Lumley it wouldn't be right. Change the spellings to our precious "English: UK" but leave the voice as she is. Also means advertising can be rerun internationally too, a benefit for the new, sleek, sustainable MS

If it was enough people to get them to call it Cortana and then put in a load of references to Halo, then your going to be disappointing a lot of people when they eventually get it, only to find out its all been removed.

They've essentially shot themselves in the foot here, by talking about Halo a lot, only to remove it.

It's very simple:
Halo fans will obviously want Jen Taylor, while pretty much every other brit will want a localised version.

Also if they don't localise it, it will look bad, when compared to localised Siri.

Best option: UNLINK cortana from regional settings and simply let people use whichever language they prefer with whichever region they prefer (just like the good old TellMe worked).
Second best option: Localise Cortana to sound British to appeal to the MASSES, instead of a few gamers.

Siri would be better if it had the original accent in the UK rather than the American fake British accent.

Right now I find it a little off putting to use. Why would an overly British bloke be called Siri? Should be something like Rodger or William. The upper class wouldn't be called Siri. That's more like a teenage girl who uses text speak.

Well I didn't say they should make UK cortana male. The way I see it if they provide a male voice they should also let us rename the assistant. I'd pick Hal :p.

I say yes and I'm not even British.. at least there should be an option when setting Cortana up.. In any country :)

Do GPS units provide Welsh and Scottish and Canadian accents?  No.  That's crazy.  One British, one American.  Those are all the options you need for the English language.  Maybe also a male voice as an option, although for a personal assistant that's likely to be the least popular.

Whatever they do, it's gotta be a choice for the user or people ain't gonna be happy, eh?  (Yes, I'm Canadian)

Actually, the old HTC nav app had a Scottish male option. It was like having Shrek giving me directions. Well worth the loss of street names. Heck Here Drive actually had a "surfer dude" English variation. It's poorly done, but amusing.

I think you're narrow minded. I'm originally from just outside of London, and I can barely understand someone from Scottland

Pretty sure you can't get a GPS unit with a Welsh accent but you can get them with the Welsh language. In my opinion having something speaking English with a Welsh accent would be pointless, why not go the whole nine yards and have it using the Welsh language!

"Shw' mae AntEv!? Cortana ydw i! Mae'r M4 yn edrych yn ofnadwy bore ma, beth amdano'r A4232 o Croes Cyrlwys?"



Mine has Scottish Irish and welsh options. You can even download billy Connolly. Big massive NO to an English accent from me. Cortana would be cool.

It's not the accent that would worry most brits, but the grammer and spelling would be an issue, most of us hate bad grammer and get a bit hot under the collar at american spelling, and you are very right in pointing out there isn't a "British" accent and the words we use are often very different, add in the difference in accent and we even have problems understanding each other, for example in Scots it is perfectly right to say, " I am off to get me messages for me piece", this means "I am off to the shops to get stuff for my sandwiches", add in a broad Orcadian accent and most people wouldn't have a clue what was said or meant.

I go with the choice but please do get the grammer and spelling right, non of this color it's colour and we invented the word first.



Microsoft are already very good at this kind of localisation. Windows has forever had English US and English UK variants, so I doubt that's something they will get wrong. In fact, read the earlier article here about an interview with the Cortana team and you'll see they're acutely aware of this.

They always had US and UK indeed, but the quality isn't perfect. Let's see:
Windows 8.1:
Right click the Start button, look at "Mobility Centre". Everything appears to be in order.
Left Click the "Mobility Centre" and... What's this? The titlebar reads "Windows Mobility Center".

Might as well use US language. At least it'll be consistent.