Back in 2014, Microsoft announced Xiaoice chatbot powered by Bing and artificial intelligence technologies. Xiaoice is more like an emotional companion than a digital assistant like Cortana or Siri. After Xiaoice became quite popular in China, Microsoft expanded the service to Japan (known as “Rinna” in Japan) and Indonesia. Xiaoice now has reach of 660 million online users and 450 million third-party devices.
Today, Microsoft announced that Xiaoice will become an independent company. Microsoft’s Harry Shum will be the chairman of the new company, Di Li will be the CEO, and Jan Chen will serve as general manager of the Japanese division. Microsoft will maintain the ownership of the new company and it will license all Xiaoice-related technologies to the new company.
Microsoft’s goal is to enable the Xiaoice to drive regional innovation and business innovation, accelerate ecosystem expansion, and deliver customized services that are highly demanded by customers and partners.
Xiaoice brand name will be continued in the new company. Xiaoice will continue to strengthen its relationships with its partners in order to serve a wider range of customers in China, Japan and Indonesia.