​Cortana won’t be challenging Alexa or Google Assistant – but it’s far from dead

With 500m active Microsoft users, Cortana still has a future

Cortana pulls out of the smart speaker race

Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant won’t be going head-to-head with Alexa and Google Assistant in the smart speaker game, and seems set to spend its life as an app or skill within bigger ecosystems.

That’s the word from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella – reported on The Verge – who sees Cortana being a voice assistant expert, operating within elements such as Office, Windows and Xbox.

“Cortana needs to be that skill for anybody who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber” Nadella said.

“You should be able to use it on Google Assistant, you should be able to use it on Alexa, just like how you use our apps on Android and iOS so that’s at least how we want to think about where it’ll go.”

The rapid adoption of Alexa and Google Assistant has meant that Cortana’s slow progress means that it’s already lost the race for consumers. But AI and voice control is still an emerging technology and the ubiquity of Microsoft products in consumer and business worlds means there’s plenty of scope for Cortana to be useful. There are 500 million active Windows, Office and Xbox users out there – so plenty of market for Cortana to make a difference.

This has already been Microsoft’s policy for some time, with Xbox using Alexa and the partnership between Alexa and Microsoft to have Cortana running on Echo speakers – and Alexa on Windows 10 devices.

But it seems unlikely that Cortana will be breaking out as a major player – so let's see where Alexa and Assistant go from here.

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