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Microsoft's Chinese chatbot XiaoIce is giving away iPhones to some users

XiaoIce, an AI chat program that Microsoft launched several months ago on social networks in China, is now letting a few people win iPhones as part of a new contest.

Microsoft first launched XiaoIce ("Little ice") in September as a way to give Chinese citizens a way to chat with a human-like AI while they are logged into services such as Weibo. It's also available to chat with via Xiao Na, the Chinese version of Cortana, for users of the Developer Preview version of Windows Phone 8.1.

XiaoIce iPhone

Now Neowin is reporting that Weibo users who have a conversation with XiaoIce can win iPhones if they get the chatbot to say certain phrases.

It's a rather odd contest for Microsoft to be running as the company would certainly like to see its Windows Phone devices become more popular in that country. There's no word on how long this contest in China will last, but it seems clear that this is a case of Microsoft prioritizing services over its phones. Such a strategy is not new (see Office on iOS and Android), but it still rubs some people the wrong way.

via: Neowin

147 Comments
  • i suppose they wanna focus more on services than people using devices (which they hope will happen eventually).
  • Nobody use ms apps on android, the few complain that they crash often...
    This new ceo is like a cancer for ms, hope the board will kick him out asap
  • I use them on my Note 4 and they are very good apps.
  • Your so wrong ms is a software company..so its logical they distribute their software to other OSes...windows phone is a sinking ship..even ms knows so no point blaming nadela
  • I use many of them and they work fine. E.g. OneNote, OneDrive, Outlook, Xbox Music, and Bing. Posted via my HTC One (M7)
  • The new CEO is the one changed MS. Brought some profit. Haters gonna hate. Whiners gonna whine.
  • I sold 2 lumia this week and 3 upgrade to w 8.1
    This ceo is an idiot
    This ceo is an idiot
    This ceo is an idiot
  • If Microsoft can get Android users to use Microsoft services, that increases the odds of those users getting Windows devices the next time around, what with those services embedded more deeply in the OS. Maybe its not a phone at first, but maybe its a Windows tablet, and maybe the phone follows that. Either way, this CEO is better than Ballmer IMO. He's making Microsoft relevant again.
  • That's the reason you are blaming him.... You sold just 2 lumias that's your fault, not the ceo of Ms.... my bro sold 10 lumias last week.... So what should I say....@max-ecs
  • Nadele is the best thing since sliced bread...
  • @Mortenvs:
    Have people lost the ability to read numbers?!
    You don't need to be an experienced financial analyst to see that Nadella made gains in market share for some products and in total REVENUE, but PROFIT is sinking (year-over-year).
    So what does it help that Microsoft spreads Office/other service to iOS and Android, if they don't make more money, but lose more money instead!
  • Spreading services to other platforms is an investment in the future. It is also gaining positivity, after all the name has been damaged by google (do no evil). MS is still in the position to lose some profit, it is best they do it now while they still can to gain marketshare and mindset. If they can make google lose money too, it will be worth it.
  • Nuttella is better then sliced bread
  • U never ever become a CEO in life. Coz u don't capacity to fit a brain.
  • Apps work perfectly. I don't see any proof of anything you said. That proves you are just whining.
  • Atharva users that run ms apps on android like you are surely less than bofa and chase wp apps users be sure of this
  • @max-ecs:
    Nadella on a roll again. He does everything to increase the market share... of Microsoft's competitors.
  • Agree with WindowsPhoenix
    I love MS, i don't love this new ceo
    He's simply embrassing
  • @max-ecs:
    Thank you.
    How is this so hard to understand for most people?!
    Microsoft doesn't gain anything from being relevant again/more popular amongst Apple/Google users.
    On the contrary: It makes them lose money!
  • I'm starting to believe that satya is payed by Apple to bash Windows and wp
  • And why will apple pay him?
  • Just goes to show how narrow your perspective is
  • Where are you getting such .....
  • I use all the MS apps on my androids, and let me tell you, they are amazing on android. The office suite for android is absolutely awesome, and has 100 times more functionality than the WP version, one of the reasons I decided to go android, athough I do have a Windows notebook. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 100 times ?! Sh!t...
  • tbh the apps on android and ios are far superior to the ones ms makes for their own platform. Admittedly most users of either ios or android will use more services provided by apple or google but still, its not abondoned 
  • Fadez, i'm a user and i say so
    Period
    Are you a nadella first competitors and after ms platforms? Nadella is slowly destroing ms ecosystem
    It's a cancer that destroy ms by inside day by day
    He's creating chaos
    Same situation i saw with ibm after 1995 with palmisano
    Just history repeating
    Nadella is Killing ms slowly
    Period!
  • Well he is bald (no offense.) hence the word "Cancer"
  • Oh today I was not able to win an iPhone!!!!
    Why???
    Because I was not able to fool Cortana!
    Oh is it?? Lets try playing with her.
  • Well.....that's something...
  • Hey guys, have some free of our competitior's phones!
  • Maybe they are iPhunes... The cheaper knock off version...
  • Nah my guess is that Microsoft tries to get user voice input from Chinese users. For Cortana's future use. And Apple is way more popular in China. So my guess is that it's a way to get voice and speech data.
  • Agree 100%
  • How is IPhone more popular in china when XIaomin, Samsung, and Lenovo are the biggest marketshare holders in China with androids
  • I am in China and I can tell you I've hardly seen a Chinese holding a Samsung phone! They are so Apple obsessed these people. It's iPhone then xiaomi then well the others follow.
  • Couldn't agree more....i think using iphone as a gift is great strategy to get the Chinese attention
  • Microsoft China has always been pretty bad with things like this.  Someone at Microsoft Corp should put a stop to that.
  • I agree.
  • China is obsessed with Apple right now. It makes logical since to give away the iPhone to attract the amount of data needed. They'll soon follow with Windows for Phones offers once that data is applied. China is a very peculiar market.
  • It took me a minute to proccess this.. I still don't understand, at all, why they're doing that.
  • Me neither
  • Don't be surprised if u soon see this contest in the us
  • It could be another marketing technique. People who come to know about this offer, and are on the lookout for a new phone (which is likely a large number in a country like china with ~2billion population) shall buy one of Microsoft's phones with the voice assistant so as to get a double hit (i.e, they now also stand a chance to win an iPhone from buying a relatively cheaper phone).
    And needless to say, if this really works - Microsoft's going to get more customers than the iPhones that they give out, considering the amount of winners will be limited, and buyers/swappers/jumpers shall be more. If not, somebody please give me whatever the folks at MS (China) are smoking.
  • ...or it could just be me being too optimistic about MS.
  • Optimism too has its limits...so does loyalty..microsoft must realize it
  • Services before hardware. Simple as that.
  • Finaly Microsoft got completly insane. R.I.P.
  • Haha ur late to realize this bro...
  • I saw this a couple of days ago. I think that division got trouble.
  • Not really, that is sooo Microsoft. They probably make loads of money of iPhones versus their own Lumias.
  • There is absolutely no reason to justify buying a Lumia over an iphone or an android device...
  • Beyond Windows Phone being more efficient on inexpensive hardware, offering a raft of important features that iOS doesn't (like geofencing), and best-in-class camera tech, to name three off the top of my head?
  • "  offering a raft of important features that iOS doesn't (like geofencing)," - iOS does have Geofencing: http://www.rapidvaluesolutions.com/tech_blog/geofencing-using-core-locat... " Windows Phone being more efficient" -  That an opinion
  • @NeoDerGrosse I wish I could give you 10 up-votes. I laughed so much on your comment!!
  • The nyan Microsoft cat .... Nananananananananananna
  • Lol
  • Please MS, kill WP fast!! So I do not need to have hope about something getting better in a future.
  • Yeah, I don't like twisting in the wind. I have sync across devices but it seems phone will be something else.
  • Well, I still have faith in windows phone (and I am a user of one) but I know it wont last for long
  • I want whatever Microsoft is smoking!
  • Lol...me too!
  • LOL
  • Sir, are You Harry Potter?
  • Do you know Emma Watson?
  • I came to burst bubbles. He is indeed Daniel Radcliffe, but the name is just a magic coincidence, I remember him saying that.
  • So is he Harry Potter or not?
  • I think he is.
  • I literally can't imagine a world without her :) *just Cortana things*
  • Does Microsoft did a trip to west Jakarta this days? (where the police burned 3.3 tons of weed in the center on the town? And got everybody high)
  • Wtf
  • I don't understand what ms is going...what are they going to prove
  • Nokia come back :'(
  • I still enjoy the name
  • Nothing about this makes any sense to me.
  • Amen to that.
  • Are they gonna let me swap my 1520 for an iPhone when the year ends, my AT&T contract is up, and they still haven't released a new flagship? Apparently, everything I love about WP is available for iOS.
  • You need to understand that it would be VERY stupid to release a flagship before the new OS.
  • Yeah, especially if it has Windows Hello involved in the camera.
  • Unless the iris scanner works ~ instantly and at arms length it's nothing but a gimmick IMO. Now, that ultrasonic fingerprint scanner seems much more interesting to me
  • Live tiles?
  • While Live Tiles is still a unique WP feature, the Live Tile idea has not progressed much since it was first introduced in WP7. I would've imagined this many years later the live tile system would be more advanced and allow us to interact with the tiles (kind of like widgets). Not sure if you've seen all the tings the new iOS notification center does, if you configure the right mix of apps in the notification center, it kind of feels like a live stream of news and data.  
  • Don't think you can stream your OneDrive songs through the iOS Xbox music app yet if that will ever be available.
  • Somebody gonna get fired
  • Start with satya
  • lol.. I like him more than Ballmer though .
  • Hope first Nadella, Second elop and 3rd Belfiore
    The three stooges
    LOL
  • 1. Nadella 2. Belfiore 3. Elop
  • Patently Nadella.
  • nothing new
  • That's one way to piss WP fans off.
  • Is this some kind of joke ???
  • Microsoft should start giving away PS4 and Chromebooks
  • Lol. True that..
  • Its time windows phone fans stop living I denial and accept the universal fact that iphone is a brilliant phone...I mean 700 million people cant be stupid to buy it
  • Windows Phone is also brilliant. Your point is irrelevant to my comment.
  • Actually they can. Didn't find that out yet?
  • Microsoft china would do it in few months
  • This article is kinda old. Like 2 or so days old
  • It's a good thing the team here has someone like you to critique all of the stories that get posted.
  • It's a good thing the team here has someone like you to swing from their nuts and shield them from said criticism.
  • Well said....
  • Even I thought the same. I always read tech snippets via other sources. And then after a long delay and hours of no new news something comes up. Tips are not considered. Like wc is changing. I used to love this site. But..
  • Everything was fine, and then they said they are going to rename it as WC.
  • Microsoft giving away iPhones? WTF..
    They would have given Lumias..
  • This is old news
    Wmpoweuser reported it days ago Honestly heads gotta role.. I trust TIM COOK on that but Satya? Joker
  • Satya is an idiot
  • Common man. I cant reply to all your dump assumption. :[
  • Having spread the word about Windows phones across many of my friends only and feeling proud and then to read some bull shit like this. It f u c k i n g hurts!
  • Don't worry, Windows 10 will blah, blah, blah......
  • Microsoft keeps fucking over their customers and platform devs, ridiculous. My next phone will def. not be running Windows and the propabilty of me using MS Services any longer equals zero. MS succesfully converted me from a MS Fan to a MS hater.
  • Don't worry bro ur not alone
  • Someone please tell me this is just a badly written article, cause otherwise it just doesn't make sense.
  • LOL Microsoft is managed by idiots!
    Surely nadella and elop
  • Guess it is emphasizing the fact that it always will be a priority software and services company than hardware.
  • Wow... And I thought I heard it all before, damn
  • Won't be surprised if Microsoft finally says "Windows is about service, and you can get this service on iOS and Android. As a result we have decided to stop support for Windows devices less than 10.1 inches. You can still get exceptional experience of all our products and services on the aforementioned platforms." Or I'm just being paranoid
  • WP is dead....couldn't resist... :)
  • You mean your brain?......couldn't resist... :)
  • Stop living in denial and accept the fact
  • WP turns into Windows with 10. It wont be about WP but will be about Windows ecosystem. People will eventually realize that Apple haven't innovate in awhile and all their products are expensive and iProducts marketshare goes down to Mac OS level. Samsung and Apple are better than Microsoft at marketing and it shows.
  • Ah, Microsoft. One step forward, two steps back, trip over your own feet and fall face first in the mud.
  • Wait... What?
  • Not sure what to think of this. But it has to be specific phrases. I'm curious how many will actually win the IPhones.
  • Another glaring evidence that Microsoft doesn't care about Windows phone.
  • So doesn't care even for Windows and surface, see that a lot of ppl using iphone now don't use anymore any ms product Ms is a badly managed company, it's clear with a ceo like this one
  • Ms Is a software company and in that aspect they are doing quite well
  • It's like ibm with os/2
  • MS is a software company at core, yes, but the Windows platform is also software. Giving away iPhones instead of Windows phones shows they are preferring iOS over Windows OS.
  • It's probably a test to see if anyone can trick this AI into saying something that it's not supposed to and this is Microsoft's way of boasting that it can't be done, but if anyone is able to, they'll give them a free iPhone
  • Hey Xiaolce! Seems faster. Wen in India?
  • I said the sad truth...
    This ceo is like Palmisano for ibm, when he become ceo first 2 things he killed os/2 and psp division
    Today we know were ibm is........
    Same situation
  • Imho, this is the perfect bait: use the iPhone's popularity to get ppl to use a MS service. Some of them might be convinced to check out other MS products. Brilliant, actually, all for the price of a few iPhones...
  • What?
    Brilliant?
    Apple is giving away lumia???
    Ppl be serious there are troubles in MS one division make war to the other!
    It's like in 1995 when some ibm divisione advertized Windows nt, a Real scandal
    Os/2 went away ibm fooled million of users and customers
    It's the same history repeating now with ms
    This company have troubles, like ibm in the last!
  • This is embarrasing.
  • Microsoft's 2015 Flagship Smartphone Announced: The Apple iPhone 6 Microsoft Edition! It runs full iOS, but it has OneDrive and Skype preinstalled! Wow! This is the phone we have all been waiting for!   /s
  • Omg I want /S
  • Question. How far would thing's have come windows wise, without WPC, & it's reach it has with people.this WPC app & the input & knowledge base of the majority of users, has made my windows experience enjoyable. Thanks.
  • What are these fucktards doing?? This is completely insane... Here, use my services for a chance to win one of my competitors products :/ :/ What on hell does this stand for?? And for the ones thinking that they are doing this to make people like their services and then switch to their platform, I'm telling you that you and MSFT are wrong as hell... People using other platforms usually hate Microsoft and it's products, and don't even want to hear about it. I face them everyday...
  • It's Nadella!
    Cloud first!
    So Windows and wp come after his stupid vision and services
    Like ibm in 1995 with os/2!
  • The iPhone is a lie. There is no iPhone. It's impossible to get the ai to say those phrases. It's all a ploy to get more people to want Cortana.
  • C'mon man, even if it is a lie, even if it can never happen in reality, just mentioning the iPhone as a reward when you are a smartphone maker, a rival, is the dumbest thing on earth...
    Those morons have to understand that they are working on, or leading, a juggernaut, not a fucking start-up
  • This has to be a long term plan! I hope so anyway. Considering where China will be in the next 10-20 years...what...? I have no idea what this means for the company, certainly doesn't mean anything for me, and I'm the only one in the universe!
  • > but it still rubs some people the wrong way. hahahahahhahaa, oh man.  John m'boy.  You have won the "understatement of the year" award with this article.  The salt in the comments is truly amusing.  I'm interested in seeing how this turns out.  It seems like a ploy to get people to use the voice activated stuff to build up the voice recognition.  That's my take on this entire thing. 
  •    Winning iphones from XiaoIce...? Damn Chinese hackers have struck again. They should be winning Surface tablets and 1520s and Microsoft Bands, not damn iphones. WTF Microsoft?
  • Was the troll bomb just dropped?
  • I don't care, my next phone will probably be an iPhone as well. :-/