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China

Microsoft launched the Chinese version of its Cortana digital assistant, called Xiao Na, a few weeks ago with the launch of Windows Phone 8.1 in that country. Now the company is talking more about a related project called XiaoIce ("Little ice") that has been designed to offer human-like conversations on Chinese social networks.

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China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) is demanding a "written explanation within 20 days" from Microsoft over queries about Windows and Office compatibility. Earlier this month, the Chinese government launched an antitrust investigation into Microsoft centred around the bundling of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player with the Windows operating system.

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Citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, Reuters claims that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is scheduled to visit China next month. Microsoft is currently being investigated by one of China's antitrust regulators over concerns centering on the bundling of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player with Windows. The antitrust probe, which was launched this week by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, followed a raid on four Microsoft offices in the country by Chinese authorities.

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Cortana heads to UK, China in beta, while India, Canada and Australia get opt-in alpha program

Tonight in Beijing, China, corporate vice president at Microsoft Joe Belfiore announced new Cortana rollout plans for Windows Phone 8.1 users, including a new 'alpha' program to speed up the deployment process. Furthermore, full details about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 were also released, including early access starting next week.

As expected, China and the UK are now getting access to Cortana on a beta status, with substantial customization done for both countries, especially in China where some significant changes to the UI of Cortana have taken place. Additionally, India, Australia, and Canada are now part of an "early adopter program" where users can "opt-in and…try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK."

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