Microsoft’s digital assistant is rumoured to be on the move, with Petri.com reporting from their sources that the division responsible for Cortana will no longer be Harry Shum’s AI and Research organization.
Instead, Cortana is set to get a real job in the Office division and be demoted from a stand-alone product to a feature of Microsoft’s productivity suite.
Cortana is said to have more than 150 million users, but it is very likely that most of those are just using the built-in search feature in Windows rather than speaking to Microsoft’s cloud AI.
In May Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Cortana Javier Soltero admitted that Cortana was not developing as Microsoft wanted, saying “this new market around ambient devices in the home has been “shaped differently than we expected.”
He then said “We are starting to tell a different story”, saying that the company was moving away from being an assistant to being assistive. This may be a timely move, as Cortana has only deteriorated in its ability to compete with digital assistants from other companies.
Cortana may, however, be an unexpected hit in the enterprise, with as many workers using it there as Google Assistant. Microsoft has also been helping other companies develop own-branded digital assistants using Cortana as a base, according to Petri.com.
At this point, it is not clear if we will be using Cortana more or less than at present, but it seems likely that whenever we use it, it will not be for fun and games, which is ironic given the origin of the name.