Cortana is headed to everyone, everywhere — if Microsoft gets its way

Invoke Speaker
Invoke Speaker (Image credit: Windows Central)

Cortana is loosely based on the AI companion to Master Chief, the protagonist of the Halo video game franchise. She, as Group Program Manager for Cortana Marcus Ash refers to the inanimate personal digital assistant, was introduced to eager Windows phone fans in 2014. And though she was initially a U.S. and Windows phone exclusive, Microsoft discovered 50 percent of her users were people in unsupported countries who changed their Windows phone's region to the U.S. just so they could use her.

Ash said the following in 2014 to allay fan's fears Cortana might be brought to iOS and Android at Windows phone's expense:

Our top priority and showcase device for Cortana is Windows Phone. Any ... commentary about us .... abandoning Windows Phone is crazy talk. Our top priority is to make Cortana so fantastic that it pulls customers to Windows Phone. Period. As we THINK about the future, we want to figure out what we need to do so that a Microsoft customer who has a PC/tablet but a different phone can have a great Cortana experience.

Hey Cortana is that you on my iPhone?

Ash's desire to give everyone a great Cortana experience indicates Microsoft's AI and Cortana plans have always been democratization. Creating an inspiring reference point for Cortana that OEM partners could emulate like they did with Surface-inspired 2-in-1s has been a difficult challenge for Microsoft, however. A fusion of Cortana, AI and Windows 10 may be the key.

Cortana and Windows Phone

Microsoft's Cortana vision has always been ambitious. In fact, before she debuted on the ill-fated Windows phone platform, Ash's team realized the proactive personal agent that would ultimately know users and their patterns and provide results autonomously was a much bigger concept than the next generation of search which initiated the project.

"It's about how people are going to interact with their devices and services in the future," Ash said. It's a vision that encompasses multiple platforms and devices. It's about democratization.

Though Windows Phone was Cortana's showcase platform, Microsoft's legacy of internal divison likely hurt its debut. Cortana's April 2014 launch was months after Microsoft's most recent flagship smartphones, the Lumia's 1020 and 1520, which both launched in 2013. Microsoft's next flagships, the Lumia's 950 and 950 XL arrived a year and a half after Cortana.

Windows Phone. Cortana. Democratization. Fail.

First, with no aspirational hardware, OEMs had little to inspire them to emulate Windows phones. Second, since the Device's team didn't create appealing hardware to showcase Cortana in sync with the Cortana team's efforts (in addition to the app gap) consumers didn't look twice.

Additionally, the time required to glean the needed data to provide personalized experiences tailored to specific regions delayed Cortana's roll out to many countries. Though this first step toward Cortana's democratization didn't garner sufficient partner support, the strategy always extended beyond Windows phone.

Windows 10, Cortana, and the world

Like any long-term project, Cortana's democratization roadmap is multi-phased and Windows 10 followed the failed Windows phone debut. Microsoft has long envisioned Cortana and AI integrated into Windows 10. Ash said the following in the above 2015 video:

When we think about the future of Windows we think about humanizing computing. This idea that we can build a natural interface ... a personal assistant that knows your pattern ... behavior, what you want, to bring things without you asking felt like good customer-centered message.

His statements foreshadowed Cortana's deeper integration into Window 10 we recently reported and which I described in a 2015 analysis:

This is an early step toward "AI-as-the-platform" or "the-platform-as-AI" where the OS/AI distinction is blurred. It is Microsoft's showcasing of this intelligent OS as an inspiring first-party reference point, beginning in Redstone 5 this year and Redstone 6 in 2019, that partners may embrace to democratize Cortana.

Cortana to rule the world

Cortana, ambient computing and partnerships

To democratize Cortana and AI, Microsoft's seeking to demonstrate how intelligence deeply woven into the OS provides the benefits of AI and the power of Windows. If successful, this may be the reference point partners embrace to bring a range of Cortana- and A.I.-imbued hardware to market.

Microsoft will demonstrate the benefits of AI fused with the power of Windows 10.

Though Windows 10 PCs may be the premiere hardware initially demonstrating this level of AI/OS fusion, Windows Core OS will allow its manifestation on a vast array of devices with and without screens.

Microsoft's Mixed Reality, IoT and home hub vision

In a world where smart speakers are establishing the foundations for ambient computing, it's not hard to envision how OEMs may use an intelligent Windows 10 as a foundation for devices to democratize Cortana and AI.

Cortana and AI 2018 forward

Microsoft's facing an uphill battle in its multi-phased attempt to democratize Cortana. Fans are unhappy with her current implementation, her regional limitations and relative absence from the consumer space compared to rivals. Manufacturers building Alexa into PCs and Microsoft moving Cortana to the Windows 10 Action Center compounds matters for some.

This year Microsoft announced that several partners have embraced its vision for Cortana. But is this progress enough? And where will democratization ultimately lead?

Hey Cortana is that my A.I. alter ego?

Microsoft's President Brad Smith and Executive Vice President of AI and Research Harry Shum recently wrote a book based on Microsoft's vision to democratize AI by sharing what it learns with competitors and others.

Even more astounding is that they predict in 20 years AI will be represented as our digital "alter egos." If AI democratization leads to such a world, the moral, business and ethical challenges would be profound.

Microsoft has a vision for Cortana and AI that drives them deeper into Windows and broadly throughout the industry. Still, external challenges from rivals and the challenges of acquiring sufficient data to provide truly personal experiences for every region are real. Can Microsoft's AI and Cortana efforts succeed? Share your thoughts in the comments, you never know who's reading.

Jason Ward

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!

  • they should start bringin windows everywhere first (smart tv, watches, iot, home, car...) and cortana with it
  • That's right and this requires Android and iOS integration with Cortana, I know Microsoft doesn't want to talk to Apple and Google companies since they also offer a competition product (Siri and Google Assistant) but if Microsoft opens Windows 10 desktop so Apple and Google can improve their personal assistants on the PC, it is a scenario of Win Win for both Microsoft and other companies. BTW Amazon Alexa is doomed since their product has 0 marketshare outside the US which is controlled by Google Assistant 85% and Siri 15%
  • Actually, it's the other way arround in Germany and Romania. Shares are like 60% Alexa, 20% Cortana, 15% Siri  and 5% GoogleAssisant. Never seen somebody use Bixby. However, this is only the 20% of the people using an digital assistant at all.
  • actually, that might happen with upcoming rumored windows core OS. Current windows 10 OS can't do that because it's just too big to be installed on these devices you mentioned.
  • This will not be succesful. Microsoft is way to behind for it ever to be accepted, just like Zune, Windows Phone, Band, Groove Music, etc.
  • Good thing they gave everyone a few years to catch up. WCGW?
  • Countries first, every country. Then you can make devices for it. Otherwise it will lack features for most users. Makes no sense to have Spotify in your country and not be able to use it with Cortana. A lot of what Microsoft does lately makes no sense like this.
  • Absolutely. I'm so fed up with reading about all the cool new features we know we'll never have if we're unreasonable enough to persist with this living outside the US thing which seems to be so fashionable these days.
  • Maybe it is time to drop Microsoft services. The future looks bleak without a mobile platform to showcase them. They will continue to erode and certainly will not come to new markets without traction in current markets. Traction in current markets will be nearly impossible without a strong mobile platform they are the default on. It is time to drop Microsoft services. Nothing but frustration is coming. No reason to put up with it.
  • My ultimate goal is to be millionaire by the end of the year. I hope to achieve this goal by telling everybody about it........
  • Don't forget to alienate your clientele
  • Exactly, actions speak louder than words. I would say that directly to Microsoft but as a consumer I seriously doubt they would listen anyway.
  • Need to do both. I know alot of people that have never heard about Windows Phone. Hell, they don't even know their none iPhone device runs Android. They have a Samsung Galaxy, because Galaxy is a cool word. Only downside is they now have to use Samsung Chargers (micro usb), and not all those iPhone chargers they've bought.
  • I did not hear about your plans before today, you did not tell enough people, I bet you failed.
  • Basically too late now, the only ones even talking about Cortana are Microsoft sites, and even then its just to parrot the Microsoft line that its not dead. No new features or capabilities, just the same old tricks since it launched years ago. No real reason for anyone to choose Cortana over more capable competition.
  • I see what you mean, but Cortana is still part of the buzz talk when talking about AI assistants. In that respect Microsoft has done a good job. Now they need to back it up with capabilities worldwide and market presence.
  • Agree!!!!
  • I wish it had the same tricks. It can't even stream music now. Basically, they just gave voice search a name.
  • Wasted a great name, too.
  • Not just parrot ms line but invent new fictional plots. How stupid is to rely on what someone said in 2014 to prove cortana is still in play. Democratization is quickly becoming a synonym for apathy that ms shows
  • Cortana is going to go the way of Windows Phone, everyone knows this, the only saving grace is enterprise and people will choose Alexa for business over Cortana, I believe the 2 will merge at some point and together they can take the fight to Google.  You guys are running out of stuff to write about, perhaps start an enterprise side as thats where MS have chosen to live.
  • Nope.  This person will not use Alexa or anything Amazon ever.  They're the WalMart of the technology revolution.  I don't care how great they are, as long as their employees draw SNAP benefits.
  • Cortana is already in more places than Alex's can dream, and there are a lot of active users, however what microsoft need to do is push the mobility aspect. Let people see the advantages of a VI which can follow you throughout the day and it will increase usage. As always it's message they lack. That and call hand offs.   10 million approx Alex's units 500 million Windows 10 pc's    
  • How many of those Windows PCs have users that have actually set it up? Most Windows users I've talked to scour the net looking for how to disable it completely when they move to Windows 10, or they just completely ignore it. I actually bothered to set it up. I even installed it on my Android phone, but I rarely use it. I set reminders maybe a couple of times a month. I cant play music with it (It tries to use Groove now and fails - no one apparently gave Cortana the memo that Groove doesnt stream anymore), I can't control my home automation with it.  Market penetration could have really given them a leg up on the competition, but they have completely failed at making Cortana a compelling service that does useful things. Its actually lost abilities since launch. So yeah, 500million PCs have it sitting there, while those users go buy and Alexa or Google device and use actually use those.
  • Really? I use Cortana to stream iHeart Radio, Spotify, and Tunin.
  • You, are a unicorn.
  • Widely reported figure of 145million per month active users. Now this will include a large number of users only using the most basic features, however this figure is not search only users, thats about 350 million all in. As for functionality: Smart home intigration has proven to be just as good as Alexa for me, lighting and heating control on voice have been fine. Music streaming through Spotify, and Tunein has been responsive too. For users of O365 services you have some of the best calendar connection tools around travel and tracking appointments, certainly far more useful than Alexa, and Cortana is a lot better with language.    Again the issue is not what Cortana can do. As demonstrated here when you said "I cannot play music with it" the issue is what consumers are aware of.   
  • I still use Cortana to play music through Groove, but I know I'm in the minority in wanting to own my music, and never subscribed any streaming services. For me, the only downside to dropping that was that Cortana can no longer identify what song is playing when I'm out (e.g., on the radio, on TV, in a restaurant/bar).
  • I could say Cortana exists on every single mobile phone (its in the store) does that mean anything?  Alexa is FAR ahead of Cortana in every aspect, only thing it has is access to MS enterprise services, thats why Amazon and Microsoft did a deal, they need each other, but MS need Amazon a lot more than Amazon needs MS.  
  • Sure, She can do alot of stuff. But here in Sweden we have no access to Cortana. We have Siri, Alexa and Google Now. So not matter how much they bring it to all sorts of devices, as long as its limited to a few countries, its going nowhere while her competition gets further ahead. Enable Cortana for all markets, be it in english or native language, before anything else.
  • Well, you can have cortana, just not from the Playstore. Get it from APKPure and be happy.
  • Again, why can't people tell the difference between things Nadella doesn't care about and cuts (i.e. Band) and things like Cortana. How is it that after years of supposed planning and work, Cortana is on exactly one device not a PC?  How is they are already behind on skills, and Cortana is mentioned is the same dismissive terms (and humor) as Windows Phone was when Nadella strangled it to death? 
  • And, why does Nadella seem to see the need for a third (or 4th) ecosystem for this time?  He claimed a third ecosystem in mobile was a waste of time.   I believe Nadella just realized that while he was on his book your, his competitors were rounding that bend in the curve he was looking for.  If leading in assistance was a key strategy, CES embarrassed them and their efforts.  Also, they are now in conversations with partners unwilling to make Cortana devices because of Nadella quick trigger to shoot products and leave partners and customers holding expensive door stops.  Maybe the lights are finally turning on in Redmond.   
  • Its should also be noted that the early win for Cortana integration, Insteon, has long since dropped Cortana support, and added Apple Home Kit, Google and Alexa integration. I dont see a lot of promise for MS making a success out of it. They could have in the beginning, before Alexa, if they had aggressively pursued the integrations Alexa got, they could have had a chance, but they sat on it too long and let Alexa and Google wrap things up.
  • I believe the smartest approach would be for Microsoft to partner with Samsung and replace Bixby with Cortana.   Samsung is trying to make Bixby a real thing but I find it a nuisance on my Note 8 and Microsoft needs Cortana integrated at the OS level to maximize functionality.  Short of forking Android themselves the best option is to partner with Samsung.  Samsung’s wide mobile footprint gives Cortana, coupled with Cortana on Windows 10, a significant telemetry pool with which to improve.
  • LOL.  Bixby will kick Cortana's butt because Samsung makes products people use, and MS doesn't.  You could probably have literally every piece of electronics in your house, from your thermostat to your washer dryer to your TV to your PC to your garage door opener all be made by Samsung.  Thus, they can readily and easily work together with Bixby.  Neither Amazon nor Google nor MS can possibly compete with Samsung if they get their act together on this front.  In 5 years, Bixby will be everywhere and Cortana will be a page on Wikipedia that starts with "Cortana was an electronic digital assistant..."
  • Great for the 20 people using it.
  • Thanks Jason. I hope with the deep integration in Windows 10, Cortana will be able to create documents (speech to text), read e-Mails and application developers will be able to integrate Cortana to their Windows Native Apps (UWP) using the APIs. This is great but only represents part of the whole system. The biggest challenge MS is facing today is that most of the applications are getting developed as Web Apps and there are not a lot of takers for the UWP development. For Cortana to be successful, MS needs to work with Amazon, Google, Siri or a consortium (similar to w3c) to come up with a common standard for integrating the so called "skills" and bots for all digital assistants. I am sure that will happen sometime in the future (just like PWA is happening now) and till that time, work with Amazon to make the Cortana - Alexa partnership.
  • Cortana integration with Office would be very cool...wonder if I could tell it to create a pivot table with these rows/columns...  
  • Keep dreaming, look at the state of Skype today and how long it took to get to this silly stage,  MS are consistently slow at everything, create half assed services they are not prepared to back up and kill off those that they dont see gaining traction.  Management are dipshits.
  • it won't...not if the lying nutella has something to do with it. 
  • I'd rather Microsoft just concede defeat to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri than keep up this charade that they actually care about Cortana and AI in general.
  • Just go ahead and make Cortana fully integrated with Android instead of this muted mess that they called Cortana that's currently available on IOS and Android. Just make a Microsoft branded Android phone and be done with it
  • Nope, one step further than android, OS integration
  • Remember when we'd get new Cortana features monthly posted to this site? Those days are long gone. Everyone has already figured it out. Cortana, standalone product, is dead. They need to make alliances with Amazon or Samsung to stay in the game. Quite frankly, they should deal with the Devil that will let them exist ( Amazon ), than the Devil that would rather they not exist. ( Google )
  • That's nice and well, however Cortana needs to have the all the same features available in the US in other every countries as well since almost everyone speaks english...
  • Exactly, where are the skills that Cortana is supposed to have. I don't think they exist as I haven't seen them.... oh, that's right, they are US ONLY.
  • If they can't catch on in the US, why waste timing and money bringing them to other countries where they will also likely fail?
  • @Bleached. It's due to people like you that Microsoft keeps their products in the US.
  • i WANT Cortana in Dutch!!
  • This will all be relative a some point because Amazon is going to buy Microsoft.  We all know it is coming sooner or later...
  • lol... it's possible but I don't see that happening.
  • So Cortana and Alexa are both about three years old but Alexa has thousands more skills than Cortana, from now on known as the skills gap. How will Cortana ever catch up or close the skills gap in this slow multi-phased slow long term slow plan?
  • "Hey Cortana...Learn from Alexa"
  • Lol, nice.   
  • Man, Jason is the best hype man. Too bad MSFT does not deliver on things. Here are a few problems that Jason does not look into as well 1. Google and Amazon have released public SDKs for Google assistant and Alexa on Android Things, Linux and Android. Cortana SDK? Never heard anything about that 2. To integrate Cortana into your products you need Win10 IoT Core, which is licensed and can only be run on devices with screens.  Assistants are a big hit in the smart home enviornment rather than laptops and phones. MSFT as always was late here and is not making it easy for devs. MSFT is what is getting in way of Cortana 
  • (1) (just ask cortana for the cortana SDK) (2) Harman Cardon speaker. (just ask Cortana for Cortana enabled devices).
  • I don't think you entirely understand the concept of Cortana SDK. The link you gave is for devs to create Cortana skills which will work with a cortana device. Cortana SDK like AVS SDK would allow devs to build Cortana devices. Just because MSFT built a one off speaker does not mean they are democratizing it, look at the ecosystem being built by Amazon. You need to open your dev platform. MSFT has been bad at this and they will ALWAYS fail to bring in devs, no matter platform  
  • Windows Mobile is dead, so we'll be now flooded with articles musing about what Cortana should be or shouldn't be. Until she's dead too.
  • "Cortana is headed to everyone, everywhere - if Microsoft gets its way". You missed out the "in the US" part after everywhere. It's more like "Cortana is headed to no-one, nowhere unless you are in the US - if Microsoft gets its way"
  • If they failed in their current markets, how do you justify expanding that failure into new markets? It is just a waste of money.
  • Exactly. The headline is just plain stupid 
  • They should have Cortana be actually useful first. The only thing she is good for us to tell me my Amazon package arrived.
  • Not having feedback about communication with Cortana in different language and totally missing AI is what they should worry about. I actually would be happy to have at least half useful AI / Cortana. As AI thats on the ship in animated Halo series, I would welcome Any AI even if that wouldn't be ultimate Cortana but some ''Morgana'' :) . They should try harder as having Alexa or Siri or Bixby,.... soon on Computer may be their biggest problem. Besides having Cortana understanding many languages, they should use opportunity and make it with unique character, even better connect it more to Halo series. I would go so far as to use "real" Cortana AI in Halo game. In future Cortana may be even programator to change windows code based on what user want, not giving feedback to change something simple. Also when using multiple AI's most original, personal AI is important. Imagine conversation between AI's and user in group chat, what will make user most happy? For AI to have Own answer, be it based on some person or even imaginary one, not answer of Microsoft or some programator. That will make user interested.
  • Well, to be honest Microsoft missed the boat by axing the Xbox Entertainment Studios. They could have leveraged the Halo franchise to get Cortana into more markets and win mindshare.
  • Even better, if every game developers use Cortana, gamers can voice command for cortana for example team AI squad to investigate an area or changing armor etc.
  • But what are gamers going to use to communicate with Cortana? Microsoft needs an accessory device... Kinect has been dropped and placing microphones in the console will not work. As there was backlash with always on connectivity with kinect when the initial xbox one launched.
  • I like the Cortana on Android beta, very convenient relay to my other devices. Can only get better.
  • The big problem in my opinion is that Microsoft wasn't able to deliver a Cortana hardware. Big companies will not invest time and money in something that does not show profits. Google and Amazon both starts by making a hardware assistant and put them on people's houses. They were pro-active. As usual, Microsoft announced something and waited for others to do their work... And now is too late, people already have Echos and Google's Assistant everywhere...
  • Microsoft was counting on everyone with a Windows 10 PC to be using Cortana at  home. This way they were already physically in millions of homes before Amazon.  However, this strategy obviously didn't pan out. 
  • I remember that being reported, and I have to wonder which genious at Microsoft came up with that.  Most people want the convenience of being connected without having to be sitting in front of a traditional computer.  Add in the fact that more and more people are buying mobile devices that are sometimes asleep to save on battery, and that strategy seems even more ludicous.  Wait, let me wake up my computer first before I tell it what I want it to do for me.
  • Why specifically computer? Cortana is on harmon kardon, xbox, android, iOS.
  • And who is using it on xbox,android and ios?? Let's get serious. How many Harman Kardon devices are out there compared to others?? Some desperate MS fanbabies bought one else wanted MS crap tech in their homes, tech from a company that cannot be trusted to commit to that product or service.
  • It's a matter of simplicity. Amazon has no mobile platform and still managed to be one of the main players on home assistants. Do a not expensive, simple device and easy to use and people will by it even if it has not much functionality right out of the box. As said before, no one wants to start a computer to do this kind of stuff. It has to be simple and always on... Microsoft needs to realize that they can't be just a software company anymore... If they want to suceed, a little hardware will be necessary...
  • In this day and age Microsoft needs to open Cortana up to everyone for free.  License free. Meaning supply open APIs and libraries to make it trivial to integrate speech into apps and hardware. Making Cortana more deeply entrenched in Windows is the opposite direction to go.  (Although they can do that too) Given they are not making value hardware, they have to make it trivial and free for others to do so.
  • What's in it for them? They wouldn't even get the search data, because someone could just as easily implement Google for searching in an open source environment like that. The reason all these companies are implementing these assistants is to draw people into their services or products. By making it free and open, you have now just eliminated any ability they have to do that.
  • You lost me at "abandoning Windows Phone is crazy talk." That set the tone for me that no matter how much MS says it's dedicated to a product, there's always the chance of them giving up. I was a Windows Phone fan, and I really would love to see them do more with Cortana, but MS has been talking about a lot of great ideas while others are delivering these days.
  • I love the quote from Microsoft about how they are not going to kill Windows Phone right before they killed it and said it "wasn't a focus". Very poor example given the recent Cortana announcements.
  • please delete, mis-post
  • What burns me is they spend billions on LinkedIn but can't afford to develop a w10m app? #fail
  • Not one sentence in this article makes sense.
    Lets start with the title. If Microsoft has its way? Come on what's stopping them? N then taking abt what was said in 2014? Ms' actions with regards to cortana have been exact opposite of what they said. N ur article is heavily relying on what was saidin 2014?? Well they also said theyll continue to make phones. Look what happened to tht. You mention that challenges of getting data is real. Well if they dont launch all the features to regions how will they mk ppl use them? The whole premise of the article is very thin.
  • All his articles are thin, that is the point. "Microsoft has a chance if each of these unlikely scenarios play out perfectly." Each one is explaining how unlikely it is for Microsoft to be successful.
  • Hi Bleached your perception of the premise of my articles sadly is off base😉 I've explained the following in comments to others, and possibly to you🤔(I don't member)🙂 in the past but: The majority of my pieces are the presentation of an analysis of WHAT Microsoft's STRATEGY is and what they are DOING, not a cheerleading per se (as you seem to erroneously deduce) "Microsoft has a chance if each of these unlikely scenarios play out perfectly." I often include language like "Microsoft plans", "Microsoft wants", or first-party quotes where they're expressing thier goals, or I make statements like it may fail, or it "may not succeed but this is thier goal" etc, to make CLEAR to those, who may assume that the pieces are assertions that the plan will succeed, that it is simply an expression of the company's strategy and WHAT they EXPECT or DESIRE the outcome to be. But it is not an endorsement that the plan WILL succeed.😉
  • Actually teciez, no.😉 If you look at why I included the 2014 statements in connection with what's happening in 2018 you'd see the connection. Its about the EARLY STATEMENT (2014) of ROADMAP objectives and the progressive (and as I acknowledge in the piece challenging) roll out of those objectives over time.
    First company roadmaps for a product span YEARS, not months. It is profoundly shortsighted to look at the course of a product and the statements a company makes about the products future along a roadmap and constrict that to months or a year. 2014 statements of objectives for the Cortana "product", span across the YEARS of the product roadmap.
    2014: Marcus Ashes 2014 statement, "As we THINK about the FUTURE, we want to figure out what we need to do so that a Microsoft CUSTOMER WHO HAS A PC/TABLET BUT A DIFFERENT PHONE CAN HAVE A GREAT CORTANA EXPERIENCE."
    This was not borne out in 2014 when it was stated, when Cortana was exclusive to Windows Phone, but it did reflect the company even in 2014, had OTHER platforms, iOS and Android on the ROADMAP to connect Cortana for Windows PC 💻 users to their iPhones and Android experiences.
    2015: That 2014 statement of a ROADMAP objective, moving Cortana to iOS and Android, happened over a year later in 2015. We also saw the continuity of Cortana across devices demonstrated at Build **2016, two years after the statement, with Cortana integration with Microsoft Graph as Cortana continued supporting the presenter as she transitioned between devices including a NON-Windows phone, to car, and more.
    2015: In the embedded 2015 video introducing Cortana on PC Ash says his team realized BEFORE Cortana debuted on Windows Phone Cortana would be "about how people are going to interact with their DEVICES AND SERVICES IN THE FUTURE was a realization."
    So even before she came to Windows phone, the team ALREADY had other devices in mind and a paradigm shift in how people would interact with computing and digital content based on language(text and voice) through a digital assistant that gets more familiar with you as he explains in the embedded video.
    He referenced the early realization that the concept of a personal, proactive assistant was MORE than the next generation of search which started them on Cortana's path.
    2015 we see Cortana's debut on Windows 10 PCs (accomplishing a roadmap objective), again, part of the roadmap announced in 2014 where Ash referenced connecting iOS and Android phone users who are ALSO Windows PC 💻 users to Cortana.
    Also in 2015 Cortana came to Xbox and Power BI.
    2016: Cortana got deeper hooks in email 📧 and Calendar 📅 allowing more proactive support, all part of the roadmap Ash suggested much earlier.
    2018: We get details of how Cortana is being integrated into the Windows OS which is another step on the roadmap of Cortana on PC and a personal assistant that really knows and is able to proactively serve a user that Ash mentioned his team was pursuing even before her Windows Phone debut.
    A company's product roadmap is not borne out in one year. It takes RD, research, preparation, launching, getting feedback, experiencing failures and or success at EACH objective on the roadmap toward the goal. If you revisit the piece you'll see that I intentionally laid it out to follow the roadmap from WP, to PC, to Cortana-as-OS and beyond.
    You will see where I identified major failures with the first objective, Cortana on Windows Phone, but the team progressed along the roadmap in line with Ashes statements about bringing Cortana to everyone regardless of device.
    Also I don't know all of the barriers with getting Cortana to various regions, but I DO know that the teams goal is to tailor Cortana as a PERSONAL assistant, that is knowledgeable about a region, aware of regional dialects and culture. Ash even mentioned how his mom in Canada complained about why Cortana had not gone there in the past since they speak English (like the US). Ash responded, chuckling, it's complicated. If they, MS, was just going for a voice assistant perhaps rollout to some countries would be swifter. But since their going for that personal angle, it adds a level of complexity that takes data and time to glean.
  • Their lack on interest to expand cortana clearly shows yet you would defend them by picking up their statements (which time n again have proved to be lies) to give a positive spin. God does ms pay u guys? Didn't know they had a media marketing budget. 
  • Disabled by users in Window 10 PC, no mobile platform, no low cost embedded devices, and sharing space with SIRI and Google on their platform. I hold extremely little hope for her.
    As a user of the windows phone platform, extremely annoyed with Microsoft recent moves. A long with others, I may as well just make moves too.
  • If Microsoft gets its way?  Even if Microsoft got its way by shutting down Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri shut down today, it still would be difficult for Cortana to get noticed on the billions of active iOS and Android devices.   Not a hater, just trying figure out what needs to happen for Cortana to start moving forward.  I don't think Microsoft has the budget to compete with larger companies that are more focused on AI.  They had 3rd place at least with phones,  I don't think they are even close to getting to 3rd with assistants.
  • For one thing, they need to change their mindset from thinking about targeting people sitting behind a desk to targeting people who are abandoning their desktops in favor of, ahem, mobile devices.
  • The funny thing is that this is the same old MSFT...Cortana was the first AI assistant, beating Siri to market by months...they didn't invest in their mobile platform (WP) which is the primary driver of modern tech and they gave up an advantage and market...
  • "Cortana was the first AI assistant beating Siri to market by months." Microsoft's investments in neural networks in regards to Cortana, beat Apple's investment in the same for Siri. Microsoft's investments in AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing also preempt Apple's. But Siri (iPhone 4s 2011) beat Cortana (Windows Phone 2014) to market.
  • So they are going to continue development or Cortana or drop it?  While it's a great product - I don't trust Microsoft to support it.  The make great tech - lousy marketing and follow up. I don't know of any enterprises interested in voice assistants in the business place..... I thought they were supporting Alexa & Android.
  • “Ash said the following in 2014 to allay fan's fears Cortana might be brought to iOS and Android at Windows phone's expense:
    Our top priority and showcase device for Cortana is Windows Phone. Any ... commentary about us .... abandoning Windows Phone is crazy talk. Our top priority is to make Cortana so fantastic that it pulls customers to Windows Phone. Period.”
  • Microsoft seems to be coming up a day late and a dollar short a lot lately...  They had a terrific chance with Cortana... then sluggishly allowed Alexa to beat the crap out of her...  I don't think MS knows how much killing features (music recognition)... even if small in the grand scheme of things looks so horrible to consumers.  Especially in the smart speaker side of the business... Why would anyone buy the Harmon Kadron Cortana powered smart speaker when Cortana can't recognize songs anymore?
  • " Abandoning Windows Phone is crazy talk" Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha....
  • :)) Jason again. While MS and it's fanbabies "envision", others conclude and produce results. Sorry but Cortana is too late, and half baked compare to others and anyway, who on earth can trust MS not killing it like they did with sooo many other services?? FAIL! No thanks, not gonna trust this mediocre company ever again.
  • Cortana was first introduced on Windowsphone in 2014. I used it a lot on Windowsphone. Here in the UK it took a while to arrive and still isn't fully functional. On my PC I find it's quicker to type than talk to Cortana. It remains, after 4 years, a shadow of the US version. I used to read that Cortana could do something then find out pretty quickly it was a US-only feature. German friends who set their phone to the German language had a tougher time even though Windowsphone was selling in double digits there before Microsoft abandoned mobile. Talking about Cortana being everywhere when, for most of the globe, it's barely useful on the PC is ambitious talk.  After abandoning Windows 10 Mobile and Windowsphone, the place where Cortana made most sense, I will believe Microsoft's commitment to Cortana when I see it. More likely we will see backend AI on Office 365 in the Enterprise using voice for productivity. I think Cortana will be removed from an up front role in Windows 10 and buried in a menu doing useful stuff for Microsoft's Enterprise customers. 
  • Without WP and Groove music Cortana ain't going to succeed.