Microsoft to release ‘Cortana’ digital assistant app for Apple iPhone

“Microsoft is working on an advanced version of its competitor to Apple’s Siri, using research from an artificial intelligence project called ‘Einstein,'” Bill Rigby reports for Reuters.

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, “advanced.” Says who? Naming it “Einstein” doesn’t make it a genius and the company spawning it guarantees that it won’t be.

“Microsoft has been running its ‘personal assistant’ Cortana on its Windows phones for a year, and will put the new version on the desktop with the arrival of Windows 10 this autumn,” Rigby reports. “Later, 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.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Einstein.” What an insult to Albert. Microsoft should’ve named the thing “Wendy.”

“Microsoft believes its work on speech recognition, search and machine learning will let it transform its digital assistant into the first intelligent ‘agent’ which anticipates users needs. By comparison, Siri is advertised mostly as responding to requests. Google’s mobile app, which doesn’t have a name like Siri or Cortana, already offers some limited predictive information ‘cards’ based on what it thinks the user wants to know,” Rigby reports. “Microsoft has tried to create digital assistants before, without success. Microsoft Bob, released in 1995, was supposed to make using a computer easy, but ended up being the butt of jokes. The Office Assistant nicknamed ‘Clippy’ suffered a similar fate a few years later.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Pfft. Why run a Siri knockoff when we already have the real thing? Maybe the remaining fragmandroid settlers will download it – if it’s free, of course – just to give their Siri knockoff some company (the two clones can kibitz endlessly about IP theft, we’re sure, and conspire over what they’ll try to steal next from Apple), but for us iOS users, this’ll just be yet another bit of Microsoft superfluousness to ignore.


  1. Even if they can make a valid alternative to Siri, first it has to get approved by Appl, which I doubt they will, and second they would not be able to integrate it into the iOS as much as Apple can.

    1. No reason Apple will deny approval just because of that, since they already approved Google’s apps with voice recognition.

      The integration part is kicker though. My friend was blown away last night when I showed her the 100% hands-free “Hey Siri” while we were driving, she’d thought you had to hold down the Home button to activate it.

      Even on Androids, there’s still no universal way to activate the voice assistant hands-free. Thanks to fragmentation only a handful of “modern” models will respond to “OK Google” in any state, so Siri-envy is rampant.

      1. If the Android phone is running Jelly Bean or newer (About 86% of devices accessing the Google Play store) they are able to respond to “OK google” while unlocked.. The few that are running Lollipop will respond even when locked and otherwise inactive.

  2. I’m really surprised that MDN would ask such a question. “Why run a Siri knockoff when we already have the real thing?”

    It should be obvious why one would have a couple of hot cyber babes on their devices.

    “Siri, show Cortana what a cunning linguist you are.”

    Now that’s entertainment.

  3. ‘Siri is advertised mostly as responding to requests…’

    I don’t want Siri to do anything other than that. Just what I don’t need, my cell phone constantly trying to ‘predict’ what I might want or need. ‘Eh, Tom, you thirsty? There’s a McDonalds near by…’, or ‘Tom, I predict you need to stop at an ATM for some cash…’

  4. Here’s a novel thought – why not wait until it’s released and judge it by it’s merits. Maybe it will be horrible or maybe it will be great. I don’t care who releases an app if it does something useful for me.

    1. You might not care, “Who”.

      I, and many others just might. Because we have no tolerance for thieving companies. MDN’s take about, “the two clones can kibitz endlessly about IP theft, we’re sure, and conspire over what they’ll try to steal next from Apple”, is right on!

      Imagine anything by Samsung. I definitely wouldn’t buy that. Microsoft follows Samsung very close behind.

  5. Good move M$. Write your software for a platform with some potential for volume sales. All of the other app developers are doing it. Follow along (again).

  6. A bit of competition is always healthy. Who wants a slow-witted companion, or one devoid of personality? Both Siri and Cortana get makeovers once in a while. Over time, their utility and sprightliness should both increase. — I don’t see the Google entity as part of this competition, but as just another agent of personal data collection.. more like a mole than a maid or valet.

  7. Can’t want until there is an Artificial Intelliegence Quotient tool to see which of these are truly better.

    I’m getting tired of some of the stuff with Siri. I swear I’ve written BASIC programs better in Jr High.

    There are some things that have been downright intelligent and downright amazing in the software world since their infancy; Siri was “wow”…but not for very long.

  8. …and Siri’s not the butt of jokes?

    Asking Siri questions is a sure-fire crowd pleaser on par with the “Telephone” game except nobody’s intentionally making it funny.

    Cortana’s got room to grow, for sure, but no more (or not much more) than Siri has.

  9. They can keep it. I don’t need an alternative to Siri. Siri works just fine for me. I don’t want Microsoft listening into everything I tell their app. I just don’t trust them. Apple I trust, but not Microsoft.

  10. When Cortona is on the iPhone I cannot wait to ask Siri what she thinks of Cortona. I hope she responds like Dan Ackroyd on the old SNL: “Cortona, you ignorant slut.”

  11. Siri would be fine if I didn’t live in an area with so many cellular dead zones. Siri is all too often in a coma to be a dependable helper. If only some of Siri assistance could be baked into the phone firmware.

  12. Future of Android, and perhaps M$ AI predictive assistants:

    Dave to Goog AI: email boss, subject: accept weekend golf outing…

    Goog AI: that’s ok Dave, I’ll take it from here, I know what you want to say.

    Goog AI seconds later: I emailed your dickhead SOB boss and told him where he and his dickhead friends can stick their clubs. I predicted that he’ll fire you when he gets the email, so I attached you letter of resignation. Have a nice day Dave. 😀

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