It’s funny to think that just a few years ago, Cortana was one of the best virtual assistants on the market that was also appropriately positioned to improve and grow. Microsoft was the first to have an always listening peripheral on the market with the Xbox One and Kinect. It was the first to bring a virtual assistant to a desktop OS with Windows 10. It was the first to build out a virtual assistant that can sync data across devices. Somehow, Cortana has fallen so far behind.
via Microsoft has totally dropped the ball on Cortana | Windows Central
Its hard to dispute the article title, somewhere along the way, Microsoft got overtaken by the other voice assistants.
Apple was the first to put it in peoples phones, Amazon the first to land it in peoples homes.
A few thoughts
My sticking point has always been the name, Cortana. I know its something to do with Halo, but it means nothing to me, and likely consumers at large. I can see how early on they thought the early adopters would be the tech, gamer crowd. The name needs to change to something more friendly sounding.
The quote above also illustrates another issue. Cortana has alway existed blended in with something else. Without the mobile market success in Windows Phone, to most users, Cortana is part of the now defunct Kinect or the search feature of Windows 10. Incidental to something else.
I kinda disagree with article, that it needs to be in more markets. Yes it does. That will help the numbers, sure. Siri is on hundreds of millions of phones, but doesn’t have the best reputation. Pushing it out to more people doesn’t seem like it will automatically equal success.
The partnership with Amazon Alexa to allow them to talk together, seems like a kludgy sticky plaster mis-step.
I think the move out of search and into the action centre on Windows will help, and fit with the virtual assistant premise. One strength of Cortana was the Notebook, where you could dictate what it knew. A bit like a PA.
I think Microsoft can’t be all things and top this market. I think their best option is simply refocusing on something specific and carve a niche. They have Bing which should mean they can mix it with the others for trivia and search queries. They have all the services, Office etc mixed in, they could go the professional route. They could also go the Bixby direction and specialise at device control. Performing complex tasks on devices, simply.
Oh no, it will be called something glamorous like, Windows Assistant.