Will Cortana for consumer survive 2018

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I am regularly struck by the paucity of Microsoft in their communication. It almost requires a translation into English. They last year a blog telling us about their “partnership” with Spotify was really about closing down Groove.

What does this communication technique tell us about the focus on AI versus actual things that are happening.

Cortana, for example, is only really on the PC. For most users it’s just a search box. In the USA Cortana has a wide range of features and there is even the Invoke speaker. For some countries, like the UK, there is a limited Cortana service and for most of the rest of the world it’s not supported. 

The end of Groove means Cortana can’t even listen and identify music any more. So its less functional. Microsoft used to say that Gmail meant you had been “Scroogled” so has the consumer been “Grooved”?

If the big bet is on AI then why doesn’t it work in most places? Why is it getting less functional or at best barely usable.

Microsoft is partnering with Amazon and their Alexa assistant. Alexa is globally available and attached to many consumer products provided by Amazon. It has had a year to perfect the smart speaker market and now has huge developer support in skills.

I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to see Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 S eventually having Alexa as the default assistant with Cortana relegated to being a business AI powering Office 365. Amazon would get access to consumer desktop operating systems to sell music, tv, prime membership and the like. Microsoft could then concentrate on their core enterprise market.

AI might be a Microsoft priority but Cortana for consumer may be dead shortly.

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