Cortana is a hit. Anyone that has used Cortana understands the value the digital assistant brings. But, there's the rub. Only those that have an updated version of Windows Phone or are part of the Windows Insiders group for beta testing Windows 10 have actually had the chance to experience Cortana. Windows Phone market share is low and dwindling. Microsoft hopes to reinvigorate its mobile platform later this year with the release of a new Windows that shares core code across all Windows-enabled computers and devices.
Microsoft has experienced quite a turnaround in the last couple years, going from aging software company that many believed to be dying to a modern, fresh, and agile entity under Satya Nadella's leadership. The renewed market interest has come, not from Windows, but from how the company has spearheaded the cross-platform application and service availability movement.
Today, Office 365, and its many components including OneDrive and OneNote, is the best productivity solution across the most popular platforms. Not just consigned to Windows, Android and iOS users are benefiting from Microsoft's change in focus. So much so, that many longtime, diehard Windows faithful have started complaining that Microsoft somehow doesn't love them anymore when exciting apps show up on iOS or Android first.
Today we learn in a Reuters exclusive that Microsoft is branching out even further into the murky multi-platform waters by confirming that Cortana-like capability is being developed for Android and iOS. Per the report…
Cortana will be available as a standalone app, usable on phones and tablets powered by Apple Inc's iOS and Google Inc's Android, people familiar with the project said.
The project, called "Einstein," is built on the same core technologies as Cortana. Microsoft is betting that its efforts in speech recognition, search, and machine learning will be enough to compete head-to-head against Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now, and just like the company has accomplished with Office 365, will be able to vault to the top of the popular list for the competing platforms. Those that have used multiple platforms can attest that Cortana's capabilities are invaluable and offer much more value than its competitors.
The reason for the name "Einstein"?
Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research says this…
The key to Cortana's success will be knowing where a user is, what time it is, and what they are trying to do. Albert Einstein's work on the relationship between space and time gave rise to Microsoft's secret project name.
At one point in the company's timeline, Microsoft marched to the mantra of "Windows everywhere." Today, that seems to have changed to "Microsoft everywhere." So far, Nadella's gamble is paying off.