An exclusive report has revealed plans by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to bring Cortana to both Android and iOS. This would be an interesting play by Nadella to put an AI assistant on platforms that already have their own default voice activated assistants; and to be fair, it is difficult to see how he could pull it off.
The current version of Cortana will not be the one making the beachhead on competitors’ operating systems. Instead, Microsoft is working on an advanced version using research from an artificial intelligence project called “Einstein”. This would build on the current Cortana framework, and allow it to provide even more detailed advice based on predicting user behaviour.
Microsoft appears to be moving towards spreading its software and services across multiple platforms, instead of locking users into simply sticking to Windows. This is mainly evident in the mobile space where Microsoft has a tiny sliver of the market, and needs to be catering to other operating systems to increase its reach. While Microsoft Office may be a good idea for spreading to Android and iOS, Cortana looks like an uphill battle. Both of the most popular operating systems have had their own AI assistants for some time now, and neither sees much use in day to day activities.
However, Microsoft has the added advantage of building Cortana into its next operating system. This would provided millions of users with familiarity with its functions and hopefully allow for increased cross-platform functions. Neither Apple’s Siri and Google’s unnamed assistant are integrated into any desktops, which limits the amount of time a user spends around them. Cortana may be able to succeed where others have failed if it is able to function seamlessly across three different platforms.
Despite this, there is no timeline for when Cortana will be making the jump over to Android and iOS. It is assumed that this won’t happen until after Windows 10 is launched, and perhaps even after Windows 10 for mobile appears on smartphones and tablets.