Outlook Boss Moves to Cortana

Posted on March 1, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft with 13 Comments

Microsoft and Amazon are Partnering on Cortana and Alexa Integration

Microsoft’s Javier Soltero is now leading Cortana. Soltero joined Redmond when the company acquired Acompli in 2014, and he introduced a large number of upgrades to Microsoft Outlook ever since.

Soltero and his team completely revamped Outlook’s mobile apps, making it one of the best email clients available on Android and iOS. He has also been responsible for the recent changes to Outlook on all the platforms, including the upcoming redesigns for Outlook.com and its desktop applications.

Now that Soltero is moving to Cortana as the CVP, Microsoft’s personal assistant could finally be getting some love for consumers. “It’s exciting It’s challenging. It’s candidly not what I expected would happen,” Soltero told Axios. Soltero will be reporting to Microsoft’s head of AI Harry Shum.

Microsoft’s personal assistant is falling behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so Soltero has a huge task at hand. Will he succeed? We shall see.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Outlook Boss Moves to Cortana”

  1. jim.mcintosh

    After all but destroying Outlook, Javier takes over Cortana, thus the beginning of the end of Cortana.

  2. BarretBlake

    Oh, good. Now we can get 13 different versions of Cortana, each with slightly different interface and feature set.

  3. PeteB

    Sounds more like a demotion, since Cortana is basically "the windows mobile of digital assistants", and with no mobile platform anymore it's got no real reason to exist. Windows PC users just ignore and disable it, and most people don't want to yell commands at their PC nor have a live mic.

    I'd be worried if I was this poor guy. You get the bad sense Cortana is next on Nadellas chopping block.

    • GetEdumated

      In reply to PeteB:

      I wouldn't be worried about Cortana going anywhere whatever the usage rates. AI is the future of computing and technology altogether so MS has to keep working her in order to survive in the long term.

  4. maethorechannen

    Microsoft’s personal assistant could finally be getting some love for consumers. 

    Or retreating to the enterprise like what's left of an away team after all the red shirts have died. Maybe it's just me, but consumer isn't what springs to mind when I hear the word Outlook.

    • stevenlack

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      I always laugh at these lol if anything, Microsoft has pushed even further into the consumer space and will continue. We hear news about Azure and cloud growth because of it's gold mine for them, but they aren't ignoring the consumer space by any means; they just became leaner.

      • Bing
      • Surface
      • Xbox
      • Windows 10
      • Mixed Reality
      • Cortana

      Are huge brands of theirs. Surface laptop, for students, Xbox for gamer's, Windows 10 for Creators, etc.

  5. stevenlack

    Cortana in my opinion still has a good shot in the market. I know a lot of people think it's dead but forget a lot of the "Smart Assistants" are quite dumb still.

    • Travelrobert

      In reply to stevenlack:

      I don't think the problem is the IQ of the assistant, but rather the availability. Apparently reports show that people do not speak to their PC and does not use the Cortana text-interface very much either. That together with the Invoke practically being Cortanas only presence, she will not get many questions no matter how smart she is.

      And even if the above would be wrong and people lavished Cortana on the PC and bought Invokes by the hundreds, the fact that Cortanas presence on mobile is hampered by being third party on Android and iOS, severely handicaps it's ability to be effective.

      • stevenlack

        In reply to Travelrobert:

        I definitely agree the availability can be vastly improved. I live in Canada and I can't find a stand-alone device with Cortana. If I walk into a Best Buy, Google and Amazon have sections for their "smart" assistants. During Christmas, these things were selling like hot cakes. Literally flying off the shelf with massive discounts. I have three now in my house. All Google Home. Works great, however, practicality wise, I've been using it less and less. It's a great idea, but it's not smart. Yet.

        The IQ I believe definitely has a major part in this, and where Cortana could maybe play catch up.

        Not sure if you've seen that Google Home ad - https://youtu.be/9I20frbeawg?t=15s

        People are now saying "OMG yeah Google Home can pickup a song based on "Insert here"!" yeah no. Not at all. That is programmed in there.

        I agree on your second paragraph as well. Cortana isn't strong right now because of 3rd party integrations hampering her abilities. I have two Xbox's. One with the standard Xbox commands, and one with Cortana. Night and day on them. Xbox is extremely fast, whereas Cortana barely works. On my Android she's fast and quick, but again, Windows 10 she's not.

  6. atulmarathe

    I'm not saying this will happen here, but the first thing that came to my mind after reading the article are the stories I've heard where companies move various people from different teams to some "exciting" project that gets cancelled a few weeks later for some reason, and the whole team is laid off.

  7. JimInBurnsville

    I expect that Cortana will be deeply embedded into Microsoft Office. This would be a smart move, as there is no penetration into the "Smart Speaker" IoT market.

  8. mmuntean

    Doesn't matter who is the boss...other assistants are still 10000 times better and will forever be because they have a mobile platform, speaker OEMS are interested in and their makers are not a bunch of liars like MS is, that kills off products and never commits to anything.