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article imageCortana is no longer a competitor to Alexa: Microsoft

By Tim Sandle     Jan 18, 2019 in Technology
People love them or hate them, but virtual assistants are being found on a greater range of devices. And the competition between providers is intense, so much that Microsoft has declared Cortana is no longer a rival to Alexa or to Google Home.
Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant has fallen behind both the Google Assistant and Alexa over the past year, to the extent that the technology company has declared it is to adopt a different approach. This represents quite a u-turn from just a year ago at CES 2018, when Microsoft declared that Cortana will become 'ubiquitous digital assistant'. This was accompanied with some new integrations with smart home hardware, as Digital Journal reported at the time. A month later, Microsoft established the "Cortana Intelligence Institute," a body that was earmarked to develop "next-generation" features for Microsoft's AI.
Microsoft's news came at a media event where CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Microsoft no longer sees Cortana as a competitor to Alexa or Google Assistant, as The Verge has reported.
When it was launched in 2015 with Windows 10, the plan for Cortana was for Windows users to become locked into an emerging AI ecosystem. However the digital assistant never really got into a competitive position with its better known rivals, including Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and the most widely used system - Amazon's Alexa.
Nadella has now indicated that Cortana's focus is all about Microsoft 365 (which is all-encompassing package that includes Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security). With this Nadela said: "Cortana needs to be that skill for anybody who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber. You should be able to use it on Google Assistant, you should be able to use it on Alexa, just like how you use our apps on Android and iOS so that’s at least how we want to think about where it’ll go."
Other things afoot are a planned Cortana and Alexa integration, a move that will allow each digital assistant to summon each other and access additional apps and services. In a further sign of partnership with Amazon, Microsoft has also made Skype calling available on Alexa.
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