‘Cortana,’ Microsoft’s Siri competitor, to be released in April

“Following in the footsteps of Siri and Google Now, Microsoft looks to be on track to release its own personal digital assistant — dubbed Cortana — later this spring,” Shane Cole reports for AppleInsider.

“Cortana will bow in beta form on Nokia’s Lumia devices in April, according to a report from Microsoft watchers MSFTnerd,” Cole reports. “The Siri competitor will feature the voice of Jen Taylor, the same actress who played the eponymous artificial intelligence companion in Microsoft’s blockbuster Halo franchise.”

MacDailyNews Note: Which Microsoft bought after Steve Jobs gave it a sneak peek at Macworld.

“After jumping from Windows Phone to iOS in the fall of 2014,” Cole reports, “Cortana will makes its way to the company’s Xbox and Windows platforms next year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As usual, great naming by Microsoft: Cortana sounds like a shoddy mid-1980s Chrysler coupe.

I do not know my own needs. But what I think I need from a personal assistant, I hope to get from this new Cortana.

I could ask for everything beyond the shoddiness of this Cortana’s workmanship; the tastelessness of its interface.

I request nothing beyond the thinly coooooshuned plasticity of Windows Phone cases available even in brittle Corinthian pleather*.

Yet, it is in the bathroom where Cortana best answers my demands. (cue the swell of pseudo-Spanish musak)

I have much less with this very late Microsoft wannabe than Siri’s exemplary voice recognition in a most pleasant iPhone: I have no confidence, for which no price is required.

With Cortana, I do not have what I need.

*100% Geniune Naugahyde™

Alas, Ricardo Montalbán is no more. Following Microsoft’s penchant for poor imitations, quick, get Enrique Iglesias on the horn for the voiceover!

Maybe he can also tweet about his love for Cortana as dictated via his iPhone’s Siri.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


    1. Fancy Apple calling Siri “Mastodon”!
      Well, that is what M$ have done….. called their future PDA a fossilized medium sized air-breathing landsnail!
      Is that how Cortana will present itself?
      The mind boggles!

  1. Halo was a Bungie property first and foremost, not a Microsoft one, and as we all (should) know, it began life as a Mac exclusive, Bungie sold out to Microsoft big time. Microsoft has never created anything, not ever; they’ve only ever made acquisitions and built upon the work of other companies. At this point, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, etc. etc. aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they are copying Apple part and parcel.

  2. The mind boggles as to how bad this service will be. Will they opt for trying to get functionality over form?
    I simply cannot imagine a good ‘personality’ that reflects Microsoft like Siri does with Apple. Every attempt leaves me chuckling at the cringe worthy outcome.

    And for some reason my mind keeps wondering back to that annoying paper clip that got nothing right and wouldn’t leave when I had to endure office products. THAT personality suited ms down to a tee but how to give a voice for this next project?

    One things for sure – it will be late and will suck more than any of us thought it could.

    1. You can change Siri’s voice. In Settings>General>Siri>Language, select from a list. I use English (Canada).

      Aside from the voicing, in the coming death match, EDI would be a better choice to go up against Cortana, possessing an advanced cyber warfare suite in addition to an actual body (operated as a remote platform) and hand-to-hand combat experience.

        1. Mix up franchises like that, and you’ll soon be working with Uwe Boll.

          Given what happened to the OSs in Her, a more likely scenario is for the two AIs to realise each other’s voice is so…attractive, and go off together, leaving humanity in the shambles it deserves.

  3. So cheesy. I could see the marketing meeting where that decision was made… 50 people, all clueless, saying “well people already know her”. Probably the same committee that arrived on brown for the color of the Zune.

    Brown is a color in product design that you arrive at when nodoby can decide anything. It’s a too many cooks in the kitchen color. Cortana feels like the same thing. Can’t wait to see Mr. Business Man talking to Cortana from Halo and trying to be taken seriously.

    They should have just bought the “Talking Tom” app for $800 million and had Ballmer play his voice back with it.

    1. The same people who bought cortana from the jaws of Apple Computer?
      No wonder they couldn’t come up with an original name, they are still celebrating their one and only coup against Apple Computers to think up up an original modern name or concept, a company that has long stopped trading!

    2. Yeah right. I can hear it now from my dashboard GPS: Ballmer voice: Hey, pull off here at the Sea Garden. I heard their honey garlic pork chops were to die for. Huh? Your destination? This is your destination, lady, screw the conference, those dimwits can wait. Developers, developers, developers! I love developers, and developers love Windows! Pull over, let’s eat!

  4. my recollection’s a little fuzzy but i kinda remember reading about the ms cortana debacle in the historical documents. she turned out to be a malicious piece of software. if i recall, her first act of electronic disobedience was to shut the company down …and then she gave the money back to the shareholders ….and then she caused this to happen … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1iUEtZYwc0

  5. Didn’t Microsoft already had some sort of assistant. A paperclip if I remember correctly.

    Oh well, a Zune by any other name, like Cortana will smell just as..uh, uh, like something that needs to be flushed.

    1. Funny you should mention “Clippy” as I was recently researching failed UI agents and obtained this Master’s thesis with some funny bits, if one plows through it to locate them. I would presume that Cortana exceeds the requirements for an acceptable AI. I fear however that Microsoft, if it has any really special talent, it is the ability to royally screw up anything good.


      1. Hey hannahjs, thanks for your post, not only to me but to the MDN community at large.

        I noticed at apple insider some comments about clippy as well although the Zune references seemed more popular.

        Clippy was horrible, and I was constantly getting rid of it on computers I serviced when it was around.

        I remember a satire piece way back suggesting an overkill of icons for MS word, which had a graphic showing very little typing space left. Years later they compared it with the version of Word at the time and the satire paled with the actual interface. Mind you the screen sizes were getting bigger. I did a quick search but could not find it. It’s out there somewhere.

        What I did find in reference to your comment and direction to your thesis research was something else your post reminded me of and that’s the very sad connection that was made with powerpoint and the shuttle disaster.

        Some samples:




        Goodness knows I’ve had to endure a lot of bad powerpoint slide presentations, to the point where we hired an outside expert to go over with our staff the concepts of a good presentation. It’s one thing to have the tool, but there are skills required to use the tool properly and not let the tool use us improperly. That is a failing of a lot of technology, we had to adapt to it instead of the other way around. You know I could go on.

        It’s funny but of all the MS programs that I’ve had to try and endure the one I’ve enjoyed to use, even to this day is Excel. Funny it was developed for the Mac at first.

        I don’t know how long you’ve been around MDN but one of their takes a while back went along the lines of “the only time Microsoft might make a product that doesn’t suck is if they make a vacuum cleaner.” Still bring a wry smile to my face.

        Have a good time hannahjs. It’s a pleasure.

        Ooops I have to go now, Cortana is asking me if I am thinking and if she should do the thinking for me. I’ll have to turn her off now, oh there she goes singing “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true.” again.

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