Microsoft and AI, have they lost before they even start?

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Curious to see the communities response to this.  In my small part of the world, I have seen many co-workers/friends/families jump on the Amazon Echo/Dot bandwagon this holiday.  Because 40 bucks is not that much for a last minute gift I have seen many people venture out and get an Amazon Dot.  Some are testing the waters of home automation and seeing how well the Dot works before investing money into lights or something similar.

Being a fan of the new Microsoft, I see this as a disturbing trend and foresee their entry into AI as very daunting based on the perception that familiarity breeds content.  With Amazon already a leg up what features would Microsoft need to be able to sway a customer base who sees Microsoft and thinks “problems” based on their past track record?

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4 responses to “Microsoft and AI, have they lost before they even start?”

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    5664

    Working for a major retailer, I saw how quickly those things went this year.

    ... mostly because of the jackasses buying two so they can eBay one for 200% but that isn't the point. 

    There's now that many of those things out there, and that makes buzz which non-techies listen to. They also know and trust the Amazon name. They don't feel any cognitive dissonance at the concept of a giant store selling them this thing.

    If there were going to be Cortana based hubs, it should have been a thing this year. I don't think it's "too late" but I think it's just gotten harder for sure. 

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    5842

    Cheap is good but echo/dot may end up like a fire phone.Alexa would not automatically turn my lights on or off and it would not order uber rides right out of the box. I would have to add devices for everything I want to control with voice recognition and then connect alexa to uber. Why bother? I can get uber from my phone which also shows where driver is and voice search works fine on my phone which by the way can also show pictures and text. Visual information beats voice every time.

     

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    991

    We purchased the Amazon Dot for Christmas, and I've used Cortana since she first came out on Windows Phone 8.1. Here is my quick comparison of Alexa vs. Cortana.

    Here is Alexa is better than Cortana

    1. A stand alone unit with excellent microphones. Alexa can hear me from another room and understands my speech nearly perfectly. Cortana is limited to my PC, and even though Cortana is on Android and iOS, the integration is so weak and so slow on these platforms as to make it useless. 

    2. Alexa can control my Wink smart home

    3. Alexa's skills allow third party interaction. I haven't seen anything like this with Cortana. 

    4. Alexa can integrate into IFTTT (I'd love to see Cortana integrate with either IFTTT or even Microsoft Flow)

    Here is where Cortana is better than Alexa

    1. Alexa can't send texts or emails natively. 

    2. Alexa doesn't do reminders. Shopping lists and To-dos, yes, but nothing like the "remind me when XXx" commands from Cortana

    3. Cortana has a more pleasant voice and just feels more friendly.

    The weakness of both systems is that they are locked into their own infrastructure. That's probably inevitable. But I'm able to get around some of that with the IFTTT interface on Alexa. This is key to Cortana's success is that it needs to break out of the MS ecosystem and find a way to be more universal than Amazon or Google.

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