Microsoft Cortana was never popular but was at least alive, thanks to the PCs. However, after Amazon Alexa’s aggressive push towards the PC platforms, it looks like Microsoft’s voice assistant is losing its last stronghold. However, CEO Satya Nadella is unfazed by the competition and welcomes Amazon on to the Windows platform, according to GeekWire.
Microsoft Cortana – plans to keep it relevant
On Wednesday, during the investor call, Nadella said, “…we’re working with Alexa, and we would welcome it on our devices because we believe in a world where our own assistant should be available everywhere and so should other assistants be available on our devices.”
Talking of Cortana’s potential and future plans, Microsoft said that Cortana and Microsoft’s “crossover between work and life” is its biggest strength. Further, Nadella noted that Cortana has plenty of information sources including Windows 10, Office 365 and others.
According to Nadella, the digital assistants today are “fairly dumb” in terms of conversations. And, this is why Microsoft is investing resources and time in AI to make its assistant smart enough to have conversations with the users on a variety of topics.
The logic behind teaming up with Alexa could be harvesting the strengths of both of the assistants. The idea is to build a deep integration, where both the assistants know the capabilities of each other, and the tasks are assigned accordingly.
Meanwhile, Cortana is now starting to show up on third-party devices. A Microsoft Cortana-powered smart speaker was launched almost two years after the debut of Amazon Echo and a year after Google Home. A Cortana-powered smart thermostat from Johnson Controls is also available in the market.
Microsoft’s consumer business is not dead
Consumer products such as the Zune Music player, Windows Phones, Groove Music Pass are dead. This raises doubts over the future of Microsoft’s consumer products.
Addressing this concern, Nadella said, “Our real strategy going forward is not only to do great work on the console but also complement that with the work we’re doing on the PC.”
During the investor call, Nadella tried to convince stakeholders that the company is not giving single-minded focus to enterprise and cloud services like Azure. The CEO assured that the company has a strategy in place for other areas such as the Xbox, PC gaming, and devices powered by digital assistants like Cortana.
Nadella stated that PC gaming is a growth market, and their focus is on bringing the platforms together through its Game Pass subscription service, its Mixer streaming service where gamers have the ability to stream when they play either PC or Xbox games and mobile gaming (Minecraft is a big example of it).
In addition, Nadella stated that the company wants to use Azure to assist gaming. However, he gave no indication on how the company is planning to do that. Earlier this week, Microsoft acquired PlayFab, a company engaged in offering back-end services for the smooth running of online games.
On Wednesday, Microsoft shares closed up 2.45% at $95.01. Year to date, the stock is up over 3%.