Google No Longer Considers Cortana a Competitor

Posted on February 16, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home with 18 Comments

Hey, Cortana, $99 is the Right Price

Alphabet’s most recent annual report dropped Microsoft from a list of competitors in the digital assistant market.

This change, first reported by CNBC about ten days ago, is perhaps the most definitive proof yet that Cortana simply doesn’t matter. If anything, giant tech companies tend to pad such lists in order to protect products that are dominant or very successful from scrutiny. For example, Alphabet still cites Microsoft Bing as a Google Search competitor despite it having less than 1 percent usage share on mobile (and less than 8 percent on PCs).

“Our business is characterized by rapid change as well as new and disruptive technologies,” the annual report notes. “We face formidable competition in every aspect of our business, particularly from companies that seek to connect people with online information and provide them with relevant advertising.”

With regards to digital assistant providers, Google’s parent company now cites only Amazon and Apple. Last year, Microsoft was included in that list.

Microsoft still makes the cut as a competitor in three businesses: Search engines, as noted, vertical search engines for job queries (LinkedIn), and enterprise cloud services. In that latter business, Google notes that Microsoft falls into a category of companies that “have longer operating histories and more established relationships with customers and users in businesses that are further afield from our advertising business.”

Oddly, Google doesn’t cite Samsung as a competitor in assistants either, despite its bundling of Bixby on its own Android-based phones. The firm also doesn’t cite any competitors for Android, which it considers a core product, Chrome OS, or the standalone Chrome web browser.

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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Google No Longer Considers Cortana a Competitor”

  1. arknu

    Well, given that Cortana doesn't exist in most of the world, that is hardly surprising.

  2. jules_wombat

    Its Interesting that Google DialogFlow enables Voice from Cortana conversations, as if anyone is actually using Cortana anymore.

  3. provision l-3

    Microsoft has seemingly thrown in the towel on the voice assistant so it makes sense. I don't imagine it is really a slight of MS so much as the reality of the situation. As far as Bixby goes, I can see why it is left off. I personally forget it exists and the only reminders I have are when Paul writes about it existing. At least for the moment it doesn't seem to have made much of an impact in the market.

  4. YouWereWarned

    Still use Windows Phone, use Cortana, and search with Bing. So I will be the judge of when my tech is kaput. A frozen dead beaver still makes a decent hockey stick.

  5. locust infested orchard inc

    The reason Google dropped Microsoft from a list of competitors in the digital assistant market is simply because Satya Nadella officially confirmed in mid-January that Cortana is not a standalone digital assistant, but rather an app or a skill.‡

    So this article really isn't newsworthy, but merely Google reviewing their threat landscape.

  6. Jack Smith

    This is not surprising. What I am most curious about is Bing has now fallen to 2% market share losing about 25% of their share in the last couple of months.

    At what point does Microsoft pull the plug? It must cost a fortune to run and they are not going to be able to compete with Google.

    Make sense to end.

  7. pargon

    Seems like Microsoft may be back to the embraced and extend method with Cortana. Cortana may eventually be the glue that allows all the other services to work together. Right now a lot of devices aren't compatible with each other....and it's unlikely that most people will forever want to be locked in to the Google or Amazon ecosystems.

    Keep working on Cortana's back end and when she's smart enough maybe she can write the skills that the other have by herself, without programmers.

    Also we're pretty new in the AI ambient computing war, Facebook just entered it and probably won't go anywhere thanks to their privacy issues....Amazon and Google aren't any better. Microsoft may still have a chance to be a large player here. Paul loves to write them off though because of past fumbles.

  8. dcdevito

    of course it doesn't why would it be? Cortana is a joke, along with Bixby.

  9. Sprtfan

    I agree that Cortana has no place in the consumer market at this point but think Paul maybe reading to much into the statement. The fact they didn't list any competitors for Android, Chrome OS, or Chrome web browser means it should be taken with a grain of salt at the very least unless I'm miss understanding the last line of the article. iOS is obviously a competitor for Android and I'm not sure what metric is being used to consider Chrome OS not having any competition also. Chrome web browser maybe dominant but I can't see it being considered with out competition either.

  10. chaoticbastian

    Seeing how popular Samsung devices are bixby could in theory be placed on everything from phones, tablets, PC's, speakers, fridges, cars, and more with the right marketing push dominating instantly almost every other ai

  11. ponsaelius

    Cortana. The American personal assistant. It was the future once.

  12. train_wreck

    “Oddly, Google doesn’t cite Samsung as a competitor in assistants either, despite its bundling of Bixby on its own Android-based phones.”

    I dunno, is it really that much of a competitor? I truly wonder how many people know it exists, much less use it outside of accidental launches.

  13. anoop5678

    Thankxx for this information.