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Cortana's future is uncertain, but what about Microsoft's bots strategy?

With Cortana's uncertain future, what is the trajectory of Microsoft's bots strategy?

In a multi-device world where a diversity of computing scenarios require an equally diverse means to interact with digital content, bots and AI are beginning to replace humans, apps, and devices for certain scenarios.

Microsoft's Conversations as a Canvas strategy establishes human language as the canvas for our interactions with one another and intelligent systems. This platform incorporates the many ways we use language over a digital medium be it inking/writing, texting/typing or verbal communication. Microsoft's efforts to infuse intelligence into everything from its products and services, IoT, smart speakers and more provides the ether bots and AI use to traverse this digital canvas.

So as smart speakers, and AI battle for our attention, and traditional and Progressive Web Apps (PWA) jockey for position, and Cortana cedes ground to Alexa, where do bots, which are predicted to replace certain types of apps, fit into the grand scheme of things?

What are bots?

Bots are conversation agents or computer programs that communicate like humans. You may have experienced beginning a chat with "someone" that you thought was a human support agent, that turned out to be a bot. A bot's level of human language interaction can be "almost" indistinguishable from a human, and that's the point.

Bots are meant to be intelligent enough to communicate with humans within various scenarios to fulfill our needs. Those scenarios include ordering a pizza or flowers, messaging a contact on our behalf, providing technical support, adding information to our calendars and much more.

Bots can exist on websites and within messaging platforms like Skype or WhatsApp (Microsoft calls these 'canvases'). As intelligent conversation agents, bots can replace apps as we instruct them via text, voice or communication through a meta app like Cortana, to fulfill a particular function. This type of computing scenario is right at home in an increasingly ambient computing and smart speaker-saturated world.

Making bots better

Microsoft's vision for bots goes beyond their understanding of human language and following instructions. Through its Cognitive Services Microsoft wants developers to make bots "more human."

Microsoft's Cognitive Services APIs use machine learning to bring advanced AI to apps, websites and bots. The vision API, for instance, can enable bots to recognize a user from a photo. The language API can help bots translate languages, or the knowledge API can enable bots to provide recommendations and other APIs bring other abilities.

130,000 developers have embraced Microsoft's Bots Framework.

The more human and pervasive bots become the more frictionless our interactions with them will be. Though bots won't replace all types of apps, there are many scenarios where through direct or indirect interaction via digital assistants, they will. This is particularly clear as we consider how smart speakers are making us comfortable with directing AI digital assistants to do things for us that we'd normally do via an app, website or PC.

Bot Connector via Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Microsoft envisions its troubled digital assistant Cortana as a cloud-based meta app that knows us everywhere and across devices. Furthermore, Cortana joins GroupMe, Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams, SMS and other messaging platforms as a canvas into which thousands of bots can be integrated via Microsoft's Bot Connector.

As Microsoft honors its commitment to bring Cortana to various products in the coming year developers can also bring bots to that "canvas" to extend its abilities. In fact, as of May 2017 130,000 developers have embraced Microsoft's Bots Framework. This is a jump from 45,000 developers just eight months earlier.

Bots in the bigger picture

Modern personal computing allows us to communicate with our digital content in many ways, the effectiveness of which depends on the context. Critics assert bots won't have a place in the modern computing landscape because of the success or potential success of other means of interacting with the digital world. Things are not that black and white, however.

There are a multitude of computing scenarios and interaction methods.

Sometimes inking, such as on Microsoft's intelligent Whiteboard platform may be ideal. In other scenarios, texting via messaging platforms like Skype that are imbued with bots might be the most efficient. Voice commands or queries directed at AI digital assistants like Cortana, Alexa or Assistant may be ideal in other circumstances.

Still, direct interaction with an app, Win32 program or web page may be best in other circumstances. There's no single solution for all scenarios.

AI future...

We live in a world that is a hodge-podge of evolving platforms, tools and computing scenarios for which Microsoft sees AI as an ever-growing part.

Bots won't wholly replace apps, but like PWAs and digital assistants they will continue to subvert apps in some of the scenarios for which we depend on apps today.

And as computing becomes increasingly ambient, AI-driven and "language navigated" Microsoft envisions bots joining digital assistants as increasingly instrumental participants in our computing experiences. After all, in a future that will be increasingly AI-driven bots are AI too.

Further reading

My evolving view of Microsoft's AI vision

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

80 Comments
  • Once again Jason does it with nicely written articles! I am hopeful that MSFT will mend its mistakes with the consumer platform and at least continue developing the AI /bot framework that most companies are heading towards.
  • Thanks Rohan🙂
  • <p>Very few people care. Microsoft has ripped me off one time too many and clearly so many others. I&#39;m not even going to get started on how many failed and unsupported product lines I invested in from 2008 to 2016. Sad to see a great company turn into this ** Never again Microsoft</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
  • :))))))))))))))
  • I remember the launch of Cortana it was huge, had a lot of potential, it still has ... MSFT started strong but it doesn't have a solid footprint right now and what they do now matters.
  • Why is anyone debating whether Cortana is critical to their long-term plans or success, or is just another under-sold service about to be cut? Why? Because no one outside of (maybe) the C-Suite knows what the heck their strategy for Microsoft really is, they are lost, poor communicators, or both.  I bet the latter. How is possible that 4 years into Nadella's tenure as CEO that some are arguing that Cortana is core, and some arguing that it has no future now and could be just cut, and both are honestly valid points of view. It's pathetic.  
  • The biggest problem is that under Nadella they just aren't transparent with their customers anymore and that, IMHO, is what Microsoft need.
  • Transparency aside, the biggest problem is that they are 100% untrustworthy on the consumer side. And on the enterprise side they are just the necessary evil.    
  • I thought in another article you stated that Google was the "necessary evil"
  • Outside of tone deaf communication, there's no outward evidence either.  Cortana has the same advertising budget as Groove, Mobile, and Band.  Nadella isn't attending conferences and going on TV selling (outside of his personal books).  Even when he talks, its just muddled 'more productive' jibber-jabber.  Politicians say more.   After 4 years, I'm convinced (by evidence) he doesn't really know what he means either. At least, not in any concrete, tactical, and meaningful way.  He sounds great. I fell for it at first too, but then when I heard people arguing over whether he said A, B, or C, I realized he wasn't actually saying anything.  I listened carefully after that, nope, nothing.  That's why no one knows what is going on, and that includes most employees.   
  • Unfortunately his track record doesn't look that great either, far too many unkept promises.
  • Could not agree more; people were saying tha Bill Gates was speaking too much as a geek to turn the crowd on but compare to Nadella he was like having Elvis Presley on stage!
  • Neo158, I agree.  I think that Microsoft should create an ombudsman/woman position.  Something like The NY Times used to have. Relying solely on the bought and paid for shills at Windows Central to communicate with consumers is not enough.  Microsoft could break new ground with such a move.
  • They are transparent on the enterprise side (if you ask) but they aren't very transparent on the consumer side. The problem with MS is that they have so many offerings that you have to talk to the right person to get the right answers. On the enterprise side your TAM and "success manager" can get you in touch with the right engineers to explain the current and future state for their products but the consumer side doesn't have this. For instance the MS teams and SFB roadmap looks great they are going to combine those features and it looks like its going to be awesome but consumers don't see stuff like that.
  • What "multiple Devices"? Data Center servers? You dont have tablet or a phone or a watch/band? Between X-Box and an enterprise server maybe? MS, you have become a joke....
  • Microsoft has tablets 
  • Why do we see a reassuring article by Daniel Rubino about Cortana making solid moves and not going anywhere and then Jason writes this? C'mon...
  • Exactly !! I don't understand the point Jason is trying to make with this article. Using the Bot Framework / Bot connector, developers can publish their bots to various channels including skype, slack, FB Instant messenger and we can integrate the bot with Cortana as well with the Cortana Skill (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/bot-framework/dotnet/bot-builder-dotnet...)
  • Hi Praveen, that's in the article😉
  • So are you reassuring that Cortana will be a lot more capable as more and more Bots are being developed (as Bots are AI) ? Got confused with your initial question "With Cortana's uncertain future, what is the trajectory of Microsoft's bots strategy?"
  • Cortana will be integrated deeper into Windows 10 and will interact with more bots as a "canvas" or meta app in Microsoft's Conversations as a Canvas" strategy.
    As a matter of fact in April 2015 I presented in an analysis the prediction of Cortana or AI integrating with and "becoming the OS":
    "It may be conceivable that the next step of the digital assistant beyond digital assistant as UI is the digital assistant as the OS. Microsoft's ambitious ubiquitous Windows 10 one OS presence with integrated Cortana may be the nascent seeds of this possibility."
  • Thanks Jason for the clarification. Satya even mentioned in one of the Build key notes that the Digital Assistants will be the "meta app" (App that can show multiple applications) for the future for the bots just like a browser being the "meta app" for the numerous web applications, today. Knowing all these facts and being a "Big Picture" guy, I was wondering why Jason is thinking that Cortana's future is uncertain :). Ofcourse we don't know whether Cortana will be the "numero uno" digital assistant but I am sure that MS won't cancel meta apps like Cortana / Edge ...etc. just like they cancelled the Groove music subscription service.
  • Jason, your articles are thorough, informative, well thoughtout, and structured, but the problem is, is that the strategy Microsoft (Satya) is conveying and his actions don't seem to add up; How is cortana being weaved into the OS when Micrsoft is striking a deal with Amazon to intergrate Alex into Windows 10? Unless Amazon in planning on selling Alexa to Microsoft who will then port all of Alexa skills into Cortana while phasing out Alexa, which I don't see happening. Even if Alexa is weaved into windows, do you honestly thinks that's going to make consumers business or otherwise purchase microsoft product introduced in the future? I don't think so because average consumers thing all smart home products run Android (Sad, but true). I don't see Alexa usage growing dramtically because it gets placed on windows outside of the percentage of the OS market the PC holds but that doen't meam people will actually be using it; People want a separated device outside of the PC for Alexa use, not their PC and we know microsoft isn't creating any new products consumer facing or otherwise! Even though the call the Surface line new categories, people still view and use them like a computer due to no apps and even the way Microsoft themselves market Surface. To Consumers, Microsoft is the same old tired 30 year old company it's alway been.
  • OMG55, digital assistants are still evolving and that is why we are talking about these skills (Alexa, Cortana, Google Now ....etc.). I am thinking there will be a common standard for opening up your bots to the various digital assistants in the future. Just like the HTML and the web technologies evolved, bot interfacing with digital assistants will also get evolved. Then Cortana, Google, Alexa, Siri and others will be able to communicate with the bots just like Edge, Chrome, Silk, Safari and other browsers (firefox, opera ...etc.) are able to open up various web Applications. Cortana will have some unique advantages when it is in Windows (similar to edge supporting Inking, invoking Cortana ...etc.) and other digital assistants especially Google and Siri will have similar advantages in Android and iOS/OSX devices.
  • Simply put, Cortana being thick and thin with Windows 10 and this partnership with Alexa are not solid moves. It really feels like it's just surviving.
  • When Satya is involved "just surviving" means it's already dead
  • I think because when it comes to opinion pieces, people have different opinions.
  • Too much focus on the race to be number 1 in a product-category, instead of focusing on being number 1 with the consumer
  • I think, Herbert,  You should not focus on numbers at all.  You (meaning the company)  should focus on putting out the best damn product you can.  Then,  everything else falls into place!
  • Microsoft always start projects that turns out to be so good. Then the bomb is dropped and they seem unsure about continuing a good thing. Smt thank God I moved to Android.
  • What a joke, Microsoft. I've lost so must trust I can't describe it in words. I'm afraid to get into any of their products. Cortana is dead just as any other consumer product. Windows is next. Nutella is nutty.
  • The problem really is that Microsoft has been very inwardly region focused solely in the US. Cortana is awesome for US customers, elsewhere... not so much. The AI framework is also under similiar constraints....
  • If it doesn't catch on in the US, how can they justify expanding it to other regions? If it isn't working in the US, releasing it in Brazil isn't going to help. They need to get it right before wasting money on expanding a dud.
  • Not true: look at Windows Phone... Held double digits marketshare in many places of the world (heck, even surpassed iPhone in some), EXCEPT the US. It is exactly this failure to serve the rest of the world that makes all their stuff fail. Apparently the home market doesn't want Microsoft products... :-/
  • To be fair, it wasn't Windows Phone that was holding that market share, it was Nokia. WIndows Phone improving was merely a by product of that.
  • I agree that Microsoft whether via Nokia or not should have brough new product to other markets first, built them well, refined the software, marketed the heck out of it and let it's reputation preceed itselft intching its way to the US last.
  • "Dude".... the vast majority of people in Europe were using cell phones when in the US were still using pagers. The '50s are over, the World is changing.
  • If they'd taken that strategy with Win95, Linux would've been number 1 today.
  • Definitely not true. The U.S is stuck in the past in many areas where the world are waiting for them to catch up. Look at MST for example. The rest of the world phased that out years ago and have NFC terminals EVERYWHERE but its still a thing in the U.S and Samsung use it as a selling point for Samsung Pay. Huawei didn't feel the need to try in the US up til now and they're still the 3rd biggest phone manufacturer narrowly behind Apple then Samsung ahead of them.
  • Because Apple and Samsung has the mind and marketshare of the US, maybe Microsoft should have launched and marketed their devices overseas and let it spread to the US via popularity; It probably is their best chance against anything US related outside of the desktop OS market which they currently lead in.
  • I think Microsoft needs to integrate Here We Go with an AI bot Either Cortana or another voice and integrate all of that with Bing database, to be honest I use Bing less and less in my Android device and Google's monopoly is a bad news for consumers, so I think Microsoft can even take this matter into international law agencies so foreign governments can provide funding for Bing global ecosystem. Microsoft needs globalization of their search services now!
  • It's interesting how the market can be saturated with iPhones and Androids and people will still pay premium prices for them while it seems everything coming out of Microsoft is being killed off or in limbo.
  • It’s the difference between Having Products That People Actually Want To Buy and Having Products That No One Cares About. 
  • Which I think boils down to being committed to your own product and thinking outside the box and ever-evolving it.
  • Whatever hardware that Nadella touch Ed, it fails.
  • Didn't Dan just post an article saying that Microsoft is still committed to Cortana?
  • Committed, in Nadella's words, means doomed.
  • It's full of crap, anytime you see an MS product struggle even just a little bit you knows its already dead.
  • "Troubled", everything Microsoft does today is troubled, walk away. Better still run away...
  • Uncertain??? Didn't you guys just write an article trying to dispel fears about Cortana being killed????
  • I don't suggest she will be killed in this piece either.😉
  • Jason, you're a good guy, but do you really believe what Satya is saying????? Boy, I was all in since WP 7 but this guy along with his two side kicks have really taught me a lesson! I didnt' think I was niave, but boy was I wrong!
  • OMG55, Cortana, is a big part of Microsoft's AI vision which the company is very dedicated to. Microsoft knows AI is the a big part of the future of computing, its integrated in the next version of HoloLens, part of IoT, integrated im the cloud, part of the connected car platform it powers and SO much more. Cortana will be more integrated in Windows 10 making it more of a OS/AI fusion. Some things are not just Satya said it, so I believe it. Some tech and investments are core to the future of computing and in regards to AI Microsoft has decades of investments in AI, and years of commitment natural language processing, machine learning and digital assistant and now bots. Cortana is integrated in all of this and AI is the future of computing for all all company's. Microsoft won't kill Cortana. Not from what I can see, anyway.😉
  • Even if the new Microsoft (IBM 2.0) is planning for great things for the next five years, that doesnt justify leaving the customers in the dark and freezing or grooving services without alternatives and expecting the customers to keep faith in MS.  
  • That's the point. They don't want "consumer" customers to have faith in MS. The only customers they want is enterprises and those are already tied to multi-year contracts so they don't have to do anything to retain them
  • And you can thank the board of directors for that. Bill and Steve held enough of the company that they could steer the direction. Satya is the first Wall Street CEO.  Profits over people, shareholders first. Go back and re-read the articles around the time Steve stepped down.  There was much speculation about which direction the company would go under each shortlisted candidates.  It was speculated that Satya would be a Wall Street stooge and pivot to Enterprise customers only.  We're seeing those fruits bear out. 
  • It's another option for those so inclined, but I'll pass. I love reading. I love checking out displayed information. I'm not going to start out by asking questions (typed or verbal) like I'm engaged in a game of site-specific Pictionary. Put up a passive site, provide the information and options, let me suss out what I wish to do at my leisure. Oh, and I don't care to converse with machines.
  • I'm exactly the same, it's also much faster to search something up that it is to have a conversation about it.
  • I said on here 2 years ago that Nadella is an unmitigated disaster for consumers and that MS will soon be IBM 2.0. I got laughed at.
  • To be fair, any CEO controlled by Wall Street would do their bidding or be replaced. Don't hate the puppet, hate the puppeteer.
  • MS, it's time to get rid of Nadulla before it's too late.
  • I loved wordflow, even if it needed some tweaks and updates. The best swipe keyboard I ever used! What does Nadulla do? Pulled the plug and opted for the shothole SwiftKey.
    You fanbois need to send a message to MS that your not gonna stand for this clueless Nadull. Boycott MS!
    Boycott Nadull! He's destroying what makes MS a once a great company! I would even replace him with Phil Spencer! The man that turned Xbox around!
  • Boycott is what they want from the retail consumer segment. Cloud and Enterprise revenues and growth are off the charts.  
  • Follow me on twittter @OMG55, "Let's Make Microsoft Great Again"...FIRE NADELLA! Seriously thought, I post tweets almost daily to Satya, Terry, Joe.
  • It's in question because Microsoft is half assing it.
    Cortana sucks on Android phones compared to Google Assistant and non existent on Android tablets.
    The only thing she does is remind me that my Amazon package was delivered.
  • Do Android tablets exist?
  • Hi Mr. Ward, I don't want to throw water on your parade, but Microsoft clearly mentioned about their Cortana Strategy and Future. FYI,  http://www.businessinsider.com/microsofts-plan-cortana-against-google-as... Cortana may not be dying after all and yeah, I know, this embarrassed Larry Dignan too.   
  • Actually sysarch, no water on my parade at all, nor any embarrassment. No where in the text do I state Cortana is dying. As a matter of fact I share how Microsoft envisions an AI future where Cortana interacts with bots as a meta app as part of that future based on Microsoft's Conversations as a Canvas strategy which Microsoft is in the very early stages of.
    Here's an excerpt from the text:
    "Microsoft envisions its troubled digital assistant Cortana as a cloud-based meta app that knows us everywhere and across devices. Furthermore, Cortana joins GroupMe, Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams, SMS and other messaging platforms as a canvas into which thousands of bots can be integrated via Microsoft's Bot Connector.
    AS MICROSOFT HONORS ITS COMMITMENT TO BRING CORTANA TO VARIOUS PRODUCTS IN THE COMING YEAR DEVELOPERS CAN ALSO BRING BOTS TO THAT "CANVAS" TO EXTEND ITS ABILITIES. In fact, as of May 2017 130,000 developers have embraced Microsoft's Bots Framework. This is a jump from 45,000 developers just eight months earlier."
    I'm not sure if you read the piece before commenting, but I'm clearly aware Microsoft has a strategy for Cortana going forward. It's in the text! Lol😉 "I even closed with very clear acknowledgement to AI, digital assistants and bots.
    And as computing becomes increasingly ambient, AI-driven and "language navigated" Microsoft envisions bots joining digital assistants as increasingly instrumental participants in our computing experiences. After all, in a future that will be increasingly AI-driven bots are AI too." This piece is meant to bring back to the forefront an important aspect of Microsoft's AI strategy, bots, and how it fits within the larger picture as things unfold. I've noticed that many people can get hyper-focused on things and as one topic dominates the new they forget about other pieces of the puzzle that are meant to help a strategy work. When they do that they complain about apparent holes in a strategy that are filled by aspects that get forgotten as that topic falls out of the news. I wrote a series on that you should check it out. Search AI, bots and Canvases or check out the links at the end of the piece😎
    www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward
  • I believe everything you're saying, but the question is, "Does Microsof Ever Reach A Final Stage OF Anything the Present Since Satya Took Over"?
  • Microsoft can't even autocorrect or predict common words, suggests "your" instead of "you're", can;'t change "i" to "I", thinks "U" is a word, bastardises many words that end with "ise" into "ize", has no idea about context so when you say "Hi Gertrude" in a message to Gertrude, it's so stupid it suggests other words, it doesn't remember anything from previous typing... their bots have no chance as there is zero intelligence in the microsoft Engineering teams (Satay is a plant from the Indian government, hence the massive H1B problem).
  • Once again, Jason provides absolutely no new information in his article that wasn't already reported here—and most of it already reported on by him. Jason opens by asking a provocative question: "what is the trajectory of Microsoft's bots strategy?" He provides us no answer. Instead, we get nearly 600 words explaining what bots are; yet none of what he tells us is new, deep, or even more than obvious. His explanation of what bots are is as cursory as it gets. I understand that a technical deep dive is not what Jason is going for here, he's going for an explanation for the masses, but he doesn't actually explain or unpack anything. Most of his insights are obvious and could be stated in one sentence. At one point he does offer us some data, in that there are 145,000 developers vs. ~40,000 8 months prior, but the figure he cites is almost a year old, and he fails to discuss even a single example of how this technology is being taken up by the industry.  The "Bots in the bigger picture" section should have given us more, but all it actually boils down to is that sometimes an AI chat interface would be good, and sometimes a different interaction paradigm would be better. Neither of those statements is edifying. Overall, Jason's article lives up to his usual standard of supplying only vague impressions and high-level sound bites that read like they were ripped from the original press releases and repeated verbatim. Jason closes with this: "And as computing becomes increasingly ambient, AI-driven and "language navigated" Microsoft envisions bots joining digital assistants as increasingly instrumental participants in our computing experiences." His work reads like a visionary futurist, but there is no analysis, and the vision he is spouting (1) isn't new and (2) never seems to be borne out. It sounds good, and it might fool you, but Jason's got nothing here. These articles are a waste of time.  
  • Thanks for reading and for the time ⌚ you devoted to commenting. 😉 Hope to see you in future pieces. 👍🏿
    Also, I'm not sure if you read this piece: How Always Connected PC will shift carriers in Microsoft's favor https://m.windowscentral.com/how-cellular-and-telephony-enabled-pcs-will... but I'd appreciate your observations on that analysis.
  • As long as the bots follow the principals outlined by many in the AI space, I welcome them.
    The moment they turn into dark social engineering mechanisms like Google's "Moonshot CVE", then we're gonna have a problem. It's one thing to provide conversational services, it's another thing to reprogram your customers wills and desires.
  • There are two sides to this coin Jason, Microsoft's AI framework is heavily dependent on Cortana and Cortana is heavily dependent on the AI framework. The problem is a circular one and one that has been hashed, rehashed, discussed so ad nasueam that there is no longer any point discussing it because the only people that can change the narrative is Microsoft. They can only do that is by focusing on the consumer sector and not just primarily the enterprise sector. CES was a prime example how sole focus on the enterprise sector actually pushed OEM's to focus on Alexa as opposed on Cortana. As long Microsoft continues to focus on the enterprise they will put themselves into a corner that they will no longer will be able to get out of without spending alot more resources. Partnerships are great however if you do not allow your partners to leverage any unique selling points, they will go elsewhere and as such we are seeing resurgence of OEM's doing their own thing such as their own sync client and by burning burning all bridges they pushed their OEMs to a point they are now pushing Alexa to the masses as opposed to Cortana. Who to this day is unavailable to many markets whereas Alexa is available, along side Google Now and Siri. You see this is what some of us have been saying endlessly. The enterprise focus worked in the 90's because not everyone had a PC let alone an internet connection, sure it can be argued most in the US don't have decent internet connection but that's down to greedy ISPs and other maligned strings behind the scenes. Almost everywhere else people have access to the internet and a computing device. The smartphone has become the "PC in every home" and from that Microsoft removed themselves from the equation. Which to me is indicative of three things - zero foresight and or lack of a back bone. (No, Ballmer did not remove Microsoft from that equation, when the iphone was released Windows Mobile 5.x/6.x devices were being sold by the bucket load by OEMS but it did not have a cohesive app store or a purchase library that followed you from device to device - the iphone did. Ballmer admit's he missed the boat when it comes to mobile because he has back bone and knows when he has made mistakes. So the media run with that admission whilst failing to recognise the dominance of Microsoft's mobile play in the consumer and enterprise sector under Ballmer and Bill Gates). Case in point, far too many unkept promises if there was any sort of back bone then heaven and earth would have been moved to take care of customers and partners to ensure their words was kept. The third element? Lack of understanding of the power of the spoken word that encompasses many aspects including marketing and digital imagery but at it's sheer essence -