Microsoft says Cortana now has more than 141 million monthly users

On stage at the Build 2017 developer conference today, Microsoft announced 141 million monthly active users for Cortana. This number is slightly off from the 145 million number that was rumored to be sent to prominent Alexa developers in order to lure them over for the "Cortana Skills Kit" developer tools launch. But it's an impressive figure all the same.

That 141 million monthly user number surpasses Amazon's Alexa by a considerable margin, considering only 3 million Echo units have reportedly been sold as of last month. The big question here, which in an early briefing Microsoft was unable to answer, is how many of those monthly active users actually speak to Cortana. Microsoft's figures are for any kind of Cortana use, which includes text, voice, and assistant notifications based on user input. That information may prove useful for developers looking to target Cortana Skills to the largest portion of their users' activity type. For now, those details aren't available.

Harman Kardon Invoke speaker with Cortana revealed

Cortana's significant user base across Windows, Xbox, Android, and iOS is impressive. Microsoft expects Cortana Skills will put Cortana in a position to better compete with the whole category of digital assistants, and if that figure is enough to convince developers to give this platform a fair shake, the monthly figure will likely expand even faster.

Russell Holly

Russell is a tech nerd who chases the best of everything, from phones to game consoles to laptops and everything glowing or beeping. He's the Managing Editor of gaming content for Mobile Nations and can be found contributing to all of the Mobile Nations sites. Reach out on Twitter!

  • I don't believe this. They probably count all windows 10 users as active users unless they somehow managed to de-activate Cortana. I have Cortana running on my pc in the back ground out of the box, I never activated it and I never use it. Am I an active user?
  • No. That's why the Cortana numbers aren't 500 million...
  • @adbolleman, Um... did you see Microsoft annouce that there are over 500 million Windows 10 users? Simple math should have scrubbed your suspicion since the numbers would have been completely off.
  • I have a really hard time believing that more than one in five windows 10 users actually use Cortana. The average windows 10 user does not even know there is such a thing as Cortana. Furthermore there are a lot of countries in the world where Cortana does not work in the local language. I would love to have some more detail on where they get this number from.
  • Since Cortana spans iOS, Android, Xbox, Windows Mobile and PC I don't see how that would be hard to believe.
  • There are 500 million devices running Windows 10, plus there are non-Windows devices that run Cortana. Secondly, Microsoft is stating Cortana users, not devices. The number of Windows 10 users is inevitably much higher than the number of devices, for example, in my house our Windows 10 PC is used by 4 users - (qty)1 Windows 10 device, (qty)4 Cortana users. So the ratio of users with access to Cortana to users of Cortana is certainly less than 1-in-5 unless you are assuming an unrealistic 1 Windows 10 device = 1 Cortana accessable user. I don't know the figures on how many "users" have access to Cortana but I wouldn't think it unreasonanble to hypothesize that there are at least 25% more users (conservatively) than devices since Windows 10 devices are generally multi-user capable devices (as opposed to say iOS and Android which are typically single-device/single-user) and many households, businesses, and public access devices will have many users for each Windows 10 device in service.
  • Ah, good point about multiple users on one device. Didn't think about that
  • "Then I saw her face..."
  • Well as a windows user from South Africa i can say that most of use that has a windows device use cortana even though we dont get the full features its still amazing to use especially when im driving or just after a meeting and i need to remember things.
  • No, look at the phrase 'monthly active user'.
  • That includes using the cortana search bar to type a search, not just the voice activated Cortana.  If you hit the Windows key you are using Cortana.
  • This is what a lot people seem to be missing, especially seen as you now can't easily turn Cortana off. You now have to do it via the registry which honestly as a pro-Microsoft fan I'm not happy about, especially as I had been defending Cortana by saying it's a choice and now it's barely even that.
  • Voice is probably half this number, if that. I don't use on Android because I can't trigger Cortana by voice. Need to fix that for Android /iOS or come up with a legitimate mobile presence of their own. And soon. Probably too late already.
  • You CAN trigger Cortana by voice. You have to have the app open to use it.
  • exactly.
  • In my home, we have 6 Windows devices. I am guessing 3-4 are active monthly. Not all of them are used with voice though. I love Hey Cortana on my plugged in devices but I do not turn it on on my Surface 3 / Lumia 950XL because both devices I need to keep their battery for longest possible. The Lumia 950XL battery is not too good considering the screen and the S810. There's no helping that. My Surface 3, however, is not benefitting from Battery drainage during sleep so I turn it off rather than put it on sleep and Hey Cortana cannot do much when the Surface is shutdown, eh? Let's see what Windows on ARM brings :)
  • I bet a lot of them are XBox Users, Cortana is incredible on Xbox One these days
  • Or non existent.
  • I routinely use Cortana to search for an app on desktop. Does that count, or does it need to use Cortana-specific tools, which I pretty much never use on desktop or Xbox? I do occasionally use it on my phone, with voice, for basically only two functions: turn on or off Hue lights (although I've had trouble with these so far), and asking for directions through Bing Maps. I'm not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I might still qualify to add to this count.
  • if you ocasionaly use it, you know it exists. That's what microsoft is marketing. They are saying cortana has now gone mainstream.
  • One could argue that a lot of people using it for searches don't actually know what it is and just know it as a search box.
  • Searching on your desktop is considered using Cortana.
  • I'd use her more if she worked properly on my idol 4s. Slow and unresponsive. Always retraining my voice... It's a mess.
  • True I use her constantly on both my Xbox Ones
  • Given all the phones that launched from 2012 today, all those 140 million Cortana users could've been just phone users.
  • None of them from w10m I guess
  • That 3 million figure for Alexa/Echo is over a year old. It's passed 10 million now: Still, very low number compared to how much buzz and development support it gets.
  • I used it all the time to set reminders from my WP. 
  • I'm one of them 😍
  • What would get me using Cortana more is if the extra 90% of the functionality which is currently US only was expanded to other countries. The last update that Cortana got outside the US was changing the background from grey to black, yes you read it correctly, the background colour was changed and I'm surprised that wasn't restricted to the US as well. Well, now the rant is out of the way, I do use Cortana for reminders and looking things up but I mainly use it for the news feed.
  • Lol 100M in US, rest in UK😂.
  • And it could be a lot more if Cortana speaks more languages...
  • I use Cortana bar like the search bar since vista/Windows 7... Barely ever navigate to an application... Voice wise, I'm starting to try it more for setting reminders but only on my phone. I wonder how often is active? I don't speak to my docked tablet or laptop, faster to mouse and type
  • Who ask her to fart
  • Lol, counting every local file search as "Cortana usage", typical microspy...
  • Still waiting in NZ for her arrival
  • Microsoft says Cortana now has more than 141 million monthly users ... Now they are figuring out a way to charge for the service.
  • Disable cortana. Its looks stupid when people talk to their PCs.
  • How can one use Cortana outside of the US both mobile and PC?
  • Change Cortana language to English
  • They Could have added one more active user if cortana on my L730 with creators did not crash every time it tries to listen me.