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Microsoft weighing up the benefits of sending Cortana to other mobile platforms

Cortana is a unique feature of Windows Phone that separates itself as a platform against the likes of iOS and Android. All three platforms have personal assistants, but what Microsoft has achieved is nothing short of awesome. However, what the company has not been able to do is reach a decision on whether or not Cortana should be shared with other Spartans... I mean, mobile platforms.

Marcus Ash, group program manager for Windows Phone, was present at the SMX Advanced search marketing conference in Seattle where he was quizzed about Cortana's possible future on both iOS and Android. While many would naturally assume Microsoft wouldn't go near the platforms with its new personal assistant, we've seen the company change in recent times and with Satya Nadella at the helm (remember: "mobile first, cloud first"), it's certainly plausible.

It's believed to help Microsoft solve an issue where Windows PC users may own an iOS or Android smartphone, which creates an incomplete experience (the same with Mac owners who wield Windows Phones). The company has attempted to address this with Xbox SmartGlass, Xbox Music, Office 365 and other products, so we could definitely see discussions underway about Cortana. Marcus Ash noted the following:

"It's interesting to think about the future of these assistants and whether they become a reason to buy into the ecosystem. That is the other tension we have. If you play this out five to ten years, and these assistants become the reason you choose Android or iOS or Windows, then what's our position? Could Cortana be the thing that, as a Windows user, (makes me feel like) I've got to get a Windows phone?"

There are hurdles in place, should Microsoft look to launch Cortana on iOS and Android, including the integration of its assistant with hardware on competing platforms. For the time being, however, Cortana is unique to Windows Phone 8.1 and Microsoft fans will be able to rejoice that she will remain a platform exclusive for now – especially if she has any say in the matter.

What are your thoughts on the possibilities of Cortana on iOS and Android? Do you think it would be a wise move for Microsoft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: GeekWire

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Seriously?
  • Microsoft guys think so much about other platforms but the other platforms are so self obsessed to share anything from official email app to sharing files even via Bluetooth to other phones :/
  • Cortana is the one thing that will attract a lot of people towards Windows Phones. MS seems to be digginging their own graves  by sending Cortana to iOS and Android. Has iOS brought Siri to WP? NO...Has google brought its apps to WP? NO.....Why the hell MS wants to give away its precious things to other platforms. Grow up !!
  • I think sharing is what should be done... Consider google chrome. If google doesn't have it on windows pc and apple devices and just make it exclusive to chrome books, will the browser ever grow.. I think Microsoft is right as offering it's products will make the brand presence immense..
  • yes but then what's point of a Windows Phone? Do you see iTunes on WP? what about every iphone exclusive app (made by Apple) and do you see Google Apps on WP?  Heck even Blackberry kept their apps exclusive! Why? because it's making people choose an OS. If all the features on WP are universal then it rules out WP from the competition. They don't need to use a WP since the features are available on the better phone anyway. WP is going downhill. If I was incharge of WP, my main aim would be to offer a unique experience to WP users and not think about making the OS Android/iOS friendly. Being a good guy won't get you anywhere so stop trying Microsoft and focus on making WP better for us Loyal windows phone users.
  • Exactly
  • +720
  • Exactly how I feel, Microsoft are giving away everythng that makes WP unique. Xbox services on iOS and Android, Office on iOS and Android and now, possibly, Cortana. Why do I need to stay on WP if I can just buy an iPhone 6 or GS5 and get all the same features!!?!
  • all the apps.
  • MS apps that work better on iOS and android
  • It is like office touch launches first on android... If there is cortana for android, i move to android. MS makes far better apps for android and ios than for their own platform. Seeiously, in MS they are very dumb if they do nothing to improve their own platform.
  • Why? Just look at what the other two will do for you....
    IPHONE- Change the color of a handset and tell you it is a revolution in the industry, and charge you $800 for it... Changing chargers so you pay for a new one.. etc...
    ANDROID- Well, if you are here reading this I think you will know how Google treats their people!
    I choose MS because they are the only ones who are putting the people before the product.. I am willing to go without a fingerprint scanner in exchange for security (lol)...... and just to be treated like a person and not a selfless number!
  • Ex-f#ckin-actly!!! what's the point of having a WP if there's no differentiation???
  • I agree with what everyone is saying, BUT the only reasons I stay are because of the live tiles and the metro design. Those are the only differentiators I still care about.
  • I am beginning to wonder why I even buy Microsoft products anymore. All the reasons I had were flushed down the toilet and given to Apple and Google. I can no longer see Microsoft as a major contender in the commerical world, and as I read about Apple and Google starting to enter the Enterprise I no longer have any faith in Microsoft.
  • Be strong friend, more apps is not a reason to give up your privacy and selfness'... Look at what MS does for the people compared to the other two....
  • +1020
  • Agreed!
  • Nope, it will cause a halo effect. Putting an inferior version on other platforms, no deep OS integration, will make users want a rich WP experience, and make the switch.
  • Nope, it will make them stick with the platform they have whether it provides an inferior experience or not. What reason would they have to switch to WP if all the services are available on the platform they already own!!!
  • Exactly, if Cortana, Outlook, Skype, Xbox Music & Glass all suck on Andorid or iOS, why would that leave me to believe it's superior on WP and that I need to go get one when I can just use Siri/Google Now, WhatsApp/Viber, Spotify/Google Play Music/Amazin Music --- the current "standards".
  • seriously? WP is already here since quite some time, how many users have opted for "rich" experience till now
  • That's not how the halo effect work. In fact, doing so will get people to think cortana is inferior to siri and Google now. So what you get is the devil effect.
  • Like the richer experience we get with Skype and GroupMe on WP. MS services largely work better on iOS/Android
  • Yes!
  • Is this the line for the bathroom?
  • There's an app for that!
  • Only on ios/android ;)
  • As a loyal Microsoft customer, I want it on my surface, PC and Xbox 360. How about Skype on my 360, give your customers what they want before you give non customers what they want!
    Make things better on your own platforms before you give better software to others. Skype is better on IOS than Windows 8.1 and wp8.1. I see no benefit of sticking with the Microsoft ecosystem, there are no apps, and the Microsoft apps are better on competing platforms.
  • Blackberry keep the exclusivity till they just realize that they will perish soon :p O come on, the game is not about innovation, but broaden the environment to everything.. Those who are selfish will perish soon or later.. 3:-)
  • Exactly +925!!! Look at the bigger picture people...
  • Well as I reacll iTunes would be nothing if it was not for PCs! So they were little or non existent until, follow me here, it was developed for "other" plataforms and then hell broke open!
  • @AushutoshGupta_bdh Google chrome? Do you even have an official Google chrome app in WP store?
    Please keep Windows PC thing aside. Not having chrome on PC won't make you buy a chromebook either, would it? We have Chrome on PC as Google through it, promoting their own services but don't expect any such luck for Microsoft.
    MS has been sharing a lot of things lately to Google but Google has been such a ******** from the beginning till yet.
    And to my belief, Google won't even accept, if ever, MS offers Cortana for Android keeping in mind Cortana is powered by Bing. And they wont agree to feed Cortana via Google. There may be slight chances for Apple's approval.
    Seriously, these recent MS decisions are getting on my nerve, as if, convincing me to switch to iOS every other day.
    And if MS is trying to follow the motto "do good, find good" instead of their "mobile first, cloud first" it's not gonna work with
  • Google is the WORST example you can come up with. Chrome is a leech.
  • @AushutoshGupta_bdh seriously?
  • Guess then the question should be, how many people have dumped their Windows PC's for a chromebook just because they use the chrome browser? Thats the argument you are proposing in favour of having WP apps on other platforms, so how has that worked in the real world with the chrome browser?
  • Precisely! So now that Cortana is on chrome, why do i need to buy Surface or Windows Phone when I could buy a cheap chromebook and have all the features for free.
  • exactly, then Windows will be without exclusivity
  • You're right that it should share SOME apps but not what sets them apart from the rest. Stuff that's core to the Windows environment should remain to that environment simply to help it's ecosystem. If they give away everything that's unique to their ecosystem then people can simply by iPhones and Androids which already have there upper hand with their app catalogues. We don't have YouTube nor chrome on Windows Phone because Google wants to handicap the Windows ecosystem and those are general apps. So no MS should definitely not share Cortana or anything that is unique to Windows/Phone until they at the very least have enough ground to stand on.
  • Which is better for the people!!!! Why is this a bad thing for us??? I see a new MS created by the people for the people ;)
  • Because they'll be the first to do it.
  • I much agree. In the words of Darth Vader, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
  • This.
  • First of all, if you are upset that other platforms will get Cortana then you admit you like Cortana and is the best! Coz if you don't like Cortana at all, then you wouldn't care if others get Cortana or not! You can end up with 2+ voice assistants, but, my guess is people will eventually settle on one. So, the question in the end becomes which do you think is the best of them all? If you think or know that Cortana is the best then why care if others get it too. If others start using Cortana as well then WP looks goooood IMO! :) I don't think iPhone users for example will switch just because they don't have Cortana! If they are not going to switch regardless of what MS does or doesn't, then why not make money off of those brilliant folks! ;)
  • Seriously though, if MS isn't going to make these features exclusive then I don't see the point. I bought a WP for it's simplicity, I stuck with them regardless the lack of apps and features etc. Now they think of doing this? In my opinion, they should keep office, Cortana, Here maps, xbox music and video on our platform. Instead their sharing it with everyone making WP even less appealing.  That being said If Cortana is sold to other phones that will be the final straw to me. I'm a huge MS fan but these things aren't making me happy, bit more of this sharing MS features non sense and I'll gladly switch over to Apple.  
  • Very well said.
  • I personally doubt that they will launch a full featured Cortana on other platfroms. Google has Google Now on iOS but it is nowhere near as good as on their platform. To be honest, going by what Nadella has repeadetly said, Microsoft will have all its apps everywhere I guess.
  • You see MS has concentrated on their apps on other platforms first. Skype is a lot better on iPhones and Remote desktop client for PC was only released a while ago to WP but iOS/Android users have had it for a while.  I don't understand what is going on in their heads. Make literally every feature exclusive! Even windows features like Office, who in the right mind would give away these features that have the potential to bring in new customers is beyond me. If they don't get their shit together they are going to end up at the bottom.
  • Fact is that the Office ecosystem, just an example, generates more revenues that Windows.... For the time being the OS will keep loosing both its importance and centrality: services are revenues generators.
  • But you have to see it from their perspective. They need to make money and most users are on other platforms. So is it a good business decision to keep your money making services exclusives? No, it's not. You wouldn't wait until people switched to your platform because you would lose a shit load of money. WE ARE THE BETA TESTERS. That's how MS feels about its own platforms right now. They messed up bad and let Google and Apple infiltrate and now they're in a bad spot IMO.
  • Well they need to make up their mind. If they want to keep WP, they will need to pay for it. If they give away all the features then they should eliminate WP altogether. They can't keep looking at the immediate income. At least keep something like Cortana - that makes no money - exclusive to WP. They are not going to pimp out Cortana for money are they? So they should keep her loyal to her husband, the WP!
  • Don't forget they recently aquired Nokia. They are a Hardware Giant now and have to sell "Smartphones"! You cant sell Smartphones when your own Services in your own Ecosystem suck big time compared to its siblings you have on competing Platforms. Skype (MS literally killed it with this one), Office, Photosynth, Xbox Music, etc. . Or think of it this way. what If people notice that they are heavily invested in MSs ecosystem and want to switch from an iPhone/Android to a WP Device? You cant welcome them with a hugely inferior experience, they´ll switch back in a sec.
  • Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
  • There was reportedly a division at MS board level whether or not MS should return to being Software only or continue as a Devices and Software. Perhaps the decision was to return to Software only, but step by step?? So, if every bit of Software is on all ecosystems, then I'm guessing this would create more income?? Where would this leave the devices, like Xbox and WP??
  • This will definitely be a suicidal event for WP by porting Cortana to the competitors' platform.  The WP differentiator list is getting shorter and shorter while the app gap problem is still not resolved.  Making Office for iPad available IOS platform may at least pick up some Office 365 subscriptions. Even in the longrun, it would potentially hurt Windows ecosystem expecially in the enterprises.  Between Office fo iPad and IOS 8, iPad now looks much more competitive, especially the enterprise market.  What do you gain exactly by giving away Cortana to IOS/Adroid?  It only makes your competitors more attractive and stronger.  I'll be very pessimistic about WP's future if that happens.  MS can't blame anybody else except themselves.  If Cortana will indeed arrive at iPhone 6, the 5.5" version iPhone 6 would look very attractive to me.   I'll compare that with McLaren closely and see there are any reasons left to continue staying with WP.
  • I agree. Not sure what I will switch to, but I'm pretty sure I will. Hopefully something else more appealing will be out by then.
  • Same here, it makes no sense to continue using WP if the same features are available on competitors platforms!!!
  • So what exactly is the draw for Apple then?I guess you're just one of those people who don't like sharing and stingy ecosystems... =[
  • I today agree with you @dhruv07
  • Microsoft's own platforms are going to get fucked even more, that's their new strategy, is to get services! Not platform
  • Even experience on Windows is incomplete, they want to reach others platform. I don't know what are they thinking. Complete your own product first Microsoft !
  • +720
  • +820
  • Yoo guys, remember when I created a thread about this in the forums? and people told me to fuck off cuz it's an OS thing and never gonna happen? Well here you go. I knew this was gonna happen...y'all should know mother Microsoft by now if you are a fan...and please go look for my thread in the forums, was posted when we all received WP8.1 dev preview. EDIT: I just remembered, my thread even got deleted by WPCentral after a lot of hate and negative comments in there (just tried searching and it's not there anymore even when I go my view all my didn't know they could do this, thought threads were like forever). I wish you guys could see but I hope a lot of you regular commenters and forum posters will remember.
  • Exactly!!!
  • MS should get their shit together, If they keep going on with this BS, Windows Phone will be history.
  • Yep...and not to mention that there were a couple of apps or updates (can't remember what it was, will probably remember later LOL) that MSFT made available to other platforms first. Was it the office touch for iPad?
  • Why give away what makes our os so incredible.
  • that is beyond me and many of use here,surely we don't know, don't see Apple doing crap like this
  • I'd just like to see it added on the PC and RT
  • Such a horrible idea. Imagine if Halo, Gears of War, Titanfall etc became available on Playstation. No one would buy the Xbox. This must be one of Satya Nadella's dumbass ideas. Couldn't imagine Ballmer or Gates being this stupid.
  • Actually i think Titanfall 2 will be on PS4 , hate to tell ya but i think from recent news and interviews from E3 2014 it suggest the same
  • It will be. Only Titanfall 1 was exclusive.
  • You all might be mistaken. May be the CEO's of Microsoft are fans of Android and IOS. And here you are bitter about there interest.
    All this unclear future makes me feel like smashing down my windows phone and purchase already grown Android platform that Microsoft wants to even make better.
  • Microsoft is just hell bent on pissing off their loyal base.
  • Oh Nokia pls come back and be independent again
  • NOOOO WHY :'(
    They wanna destroy Windows Phone don't they?
  • Agreed
  • More reasons to switch to windows phone.
  • What? No. This will make Windows Phone same like others and no exclusivity
  • More reasons to switch FROM Windows phone.......fixed :)
  • Exactly, I just tweeted Satya Nadella asking when MS are going to learn not to give away exclusive WP features.
  • we all should do the same, start the twitter riot
  • Nadella sucks! Bring back Ballmer! I knew and told people that Nadella was going to start fucking us WP users over, worse than they were before!
  • Exactly.
  • I'm starting to wonder why I'm so loyal to Microsoft when they keep doing/are rumored to be making these kinds of decisions.
  • Cortana should be wp exclusive..!
  • Agreed, at lease for the next century
  • It should be Microsoft exclusive. On Xbox One and Windows 8 maybe but other mobile platforms. I don't see who got this idea inside Microsoft.
  • Yes it should
  • Exactly. Would MS ever think of releasing Halo on PS4? NO!! It's idiotic to even consider that.
  • Halo is a product. Cortana is a mobile service. Your analogy fails.
  • To fix the analogy: Would MS ever think of releasing Live on PS4... oh wait, they have released Live on iOS and Android so new MS might... along with Halo.
  • The exclusivity is the point, whether a service, game or whatever.
  • You are comparing two completely different business models: Halo is tied to a hardware platform, Cortana is a service. Does Apple offer the OS for other platforms? No, it does not because the OS is used to sell the hardware and not the other way around.
  • Another wrong comparison, your comparing a service to an OS. A better comparison is this, does Apple or Google offer Siri or Google Now for use on WP? No, so why should MS offer Cortana for use on other platforms.
  • On the contrary: MS is moving from a OS centric company to a services one; the OS is becoming a commodity used to sell services and not the other way around. Is it the rich move or the wrong one? Time will tell...
    Btw Apple uses Bing, doesn't it?
  • so that means we shd stop buying WPs  
  • Want it on my surface, my laptop and my Xbox 360. I'm not a handset, I'm not buying a Xbox one, support your existing user base!
  • Just like the Lumia had sooo many exclusive apps and features beyond what any other WP had. Those exclusive apps/features is what got a lot of non-Lumia users (including myself) to say, "My next WP is going to be a Lumia!"
  • It should be a Microsoft exclusive. Windows should have it as well as Xbox. Cortana hears everything almost perfectly, Xbox One, not so much.
  • That would be a stupid move, from M$ 
  • Extremely, worse than Xbox games on other platforms
  • Games are not the same as services which is what Cortana is, service in the cloud.
  • Cortana would be relegated to an app on another platform as opposed to an important selling feature for our platform. And then what? There is a team just working on the IOS and android version? Which would get priority over the WP version of Cortana?
  • And even on android the Cortana app could tie into the OS more than it is tied into WP, which clearly makes Cortana on WP worse than Android.
  • Seems aannoyingier
  • Stupid idea...
  • I think microsoft doesn't care for windows phone ,What they care for is more profit for the company
  • Yea.. All they want is to earn money..
  • Yeah suck if they say about One Microsoft. This is not One Microsoft, this will be SAME Microsoft !
  • Its funny you say this, because many of us had our doubts when MSFT bought Nokias mobile division! We all wondered if MSFT was going to screw it up...i had always thought that Nokia would buy WP instead of MSFT buying Nokia mobile. I do wish it had been the other way around. :/
  • Oh that would just be perfect! Nokia complimented WP so well! i'm sure they would have done fine without MS (or not)
  • WTF.? Microsoft is insane. They will be destroying WP if they did so. Cortana is exclusive for WP, and keep it that way itself..
  • Now both platforms will end up with 2 voice assistances each and WP users will only get Cortana
  • Yes and other people will brag to WP user that they have more option. This is BAD idea seriously. From consumer POV out they who doesn't know what happen inside here.
  • And if it's anything like Skype, it'll have more features on the other platforms... SMH... If this happens, Microsoft might as well call it a day as a mobile OS, and focus solely on services and apps.
  • ^ I honestly feel like they are headed that way. I know I'm being pessimistic lately but I don't think it looks good.
  • Youre being realistic
  • Here's how I would put it. If you are sad that other platforms will get Cortana then you admit you like Cortana and is the best! Coz if you don't like Cortana at all, then you wouldn't care if others get Cortana or not! You can end with 2 voice assistants, but, my guess is people will eventually settle on one. So, the question in the end becomes which do you think is the best of them all! If you think or know that Cortana is the best then why care if others get it or not. If others start using Cortana as well then WP looks goooood IMO! :)
  • Actually it just makes windows phone users look like dumb, blind fanboys.
  • Why would they export what's fast becoming a killer feature on WP to other platforms
  • Because Nadella is an idiot! He's only they're to keep the iPhone using investors happy. Not the Microsoft loyalists.
  • Wtf!!! Never ever should MS do that. In fact if MS does that, people will be more satisfied with their iOS or Android devices. If you need Cortana, get a WP. That's it. Even Google does that.
  • I believe google now is on iOS but I don't use it on any iOS device so I cannot tell you if its better or same.. But no they need to have some reason to stay/come to winphone
  • Are you people mad don't do it please don't. Don't let them have this. This is one of the things that make Windows even more awesome than other losers.
  • OS Integration would most likely be a long way off, but I'm sure we could see integration with Bing or something similar - a Cortana 'Light'
  • Doesn't the new version of Siri (or the upcoming one) use Bing as it's back end engine?
  • Well, apple doesn't  have search engine platform, so it has been using google. but apple and google are now not seeing eye to eye, so would be logical for them to cut their support .  apple has siri, googgle has google search, and microsoft has cortana. KEEP it that way!
  • Actually, OS integration on Android is way easier than on WP, so Cortana could turn out to give the best experience on Android if they're stupid enough to do it. If they do, they'll lose a loyal WP user.
  • I hate to say this... That's equal to commit suicide.
  • +820
  • Dnt do it.....bad idea!
  • Give everything away and get feck all back, right yeah that's the way do do it MS
  • Nope. No way. Just showing off Cortana has driven some friends into looking at Windows Phone. I mean, yeah it's an incomplete experience if you have a Windows PC and an Android/iPhone... So give them a reason to want Windows Phone!
  • This wouldn't be a good move, wouldn't be used in the other platforms because people wouldn't see a need to use two personal assistants on the same device.
  • The only other platform Cortana should be made available for is the Xbox One. Put it on iOS or Android and they will be further killing off their own platform. 
  • No, cortana should be an exclusive.
  • Exclusive to Microsoft products.
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with Cortana on Windows and Xbox One in addition to Windows Phones.
  • Lol. Nope.
  • If they do this, I'm gonna leave windowsphone.. Uniqueness is the word. The reason why i chose wp is because its uniqueness among others, live tiles, etc,. HERE maps.
  • Here maps are not WP exclusive, Here belongs to Nokia and the company can license it to whichever entity is interested, and willing to pay, for the service.
  • Ideas Microsoft should never do:
    1. Put Android apps on Windows Phone
    2. This
    3. This
    4. This
  • Ideas people should never do:
    1. Put Android apps on Windows Phone
    2. Put Android on Surface Pro(Console OS- a kick start up is looking for donation from users to start working on a project)
    3. This
    4. This
  • That would be the end of WP
  • Don't see Siri in other OS's and Microsoft should do the same with Cortana.
  • They should bring it to windows phone internationally first.
  • Exactly what I wrote on the Neowin article. Release it for ALL WP users first then look at other platforms.
  • Do you see Siri being offered for other platforms? Of course not. Cortana should remain exclusive. Microsoft needs this as a reason to switch mobile platforms.
  • I agree with you, even google wont offer google now to us.
  • This almost feels like BGR level "click bait".
  • I don't think it is a good idea at all, Microsoft has to exclusive some good features in their platform in order to make people wants to join the platform.
    Or els