Microsoft CEO embarrassed by Cortana voice command failure during keynote

“Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri, proves less than helpful during a live presentation by chief executive Satya Nadella,” The Guardian reports.

“Nadella was delivering a keynote address at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference when he called upon the services of Cortana,” The Guardian reports. “‘Show me my most at-risk opportunities,’ he commanded. ‘Show me to buy milk at this opportunity,’ Cortana replied.”

Nadella makes several more attempts before finally just giving up.

Watch the video starting at 10:33 to see Microsoft’s Siri wannabe failing miserably.

MacDailyNews Note: Timeline: Apple released Siri on October 4, 2011. Microsoft released their Siri wannabe, Cortana, two and a half years later on April 2, 2014.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

51 Comments

    1. I would be more embarrassed by this whole “interview” (a “conversation” with Satya Nadella) that sounds so ridiculously scripted. Oh, let’s play a video that just happens to answer your question…

    2. My head was spinning at six minutes into it. Try to understand what the heck he was saying. He seems only one step better than Ballmer and and “interviews”.
      And it was not just his accent it was his train of thought. Oh boy another loser.

  1. Only the best from Microsoft!

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the company that brought you the Blue Screen of Death, now brings you something that will never understand a word you have to say! But wait, there’s more!!!

    1. This is why Apple doesn’t do live demos like this but prefers to use videos and product intros with slide decks.

      The BSOD was bad, but Kernel panics or the beachball of death was worse.

      I love Apple product, but when they fail… they fail silently and without any indication of what went wrong.

      1. What the f#ck are you talking about troll boy? Apple’s keynotes are full of live hands on demos! Dumb ass! and when they fail, they might do once a year, not once a week like most of MS’s crappy products. Kernel panics! lol! I haven’t seen a kernel panic on my fleet of macs (9 in my offices, 3 in my house) in about a decade, so stop being such a fracking Zune and get the hell out of here!

        1. No need to get all flustered. Live demos of Apple features are often curated very carefully. This is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that. The presentations rarely go wrong because it’s carefully controlled. This is not trolling, this is just a result of living on both sides of the fence and being a realist.

          Kernel panics happen about as often as BSODs, which are (also) relatively infrequent and blown WAY out of proportion.

          The main difference between Macs and PCs is that when Macs fail, they just don’t do whatever they’re supposed to. If it can’t connect to a printer, it just fails silently and maybe logs it. If a PC fails, it will pop up a warning message.

          This has the advantage of being able to diagnose the problem more easily for an average user, but it also exposes errors and warnings making the system “seem” less crash-y. Also, if something doesn’t work and there is not warning message, the user has a tendency to think “what did I do wrong?” instead of “what did the computer do wrong?”

  2. Funny thing is that the crowd of sheep applaud anyway, since Microsoft users are so used to failures, any new failure is taken as a new feature.
    And what was that conference? An attempt to replicate “all things digital” from WSJ?

  3. I think that is the worst planning.

    “Show me my most at-risk opportunities”

    Ask 99% of the people this question and they will think you are talking about milk. Very stupid. On stage, impossible to augment audio – and they expected a good result?

    Practice makes perfect. Also don’t toss tongue twisters to your DA she will think you are working on a grocery list.

    1. Agreed. “Show me my most at-risk opportunities” is a ridiculous thing to say to an AI system for an on-stage demo. I’m sure I’ve never spoken that sentence in my entire life. Neither have most people. I’m not sure I even understand what that sentence means and I’m a human…what chance did Cortana have?

      But I don’t doubt for a minute that Nadella would consider that a completely normal thing to say. If you ever watch his presentations, they’re an incomprehensible buzzword salad chock full of business-speak. He talks like the boss in a Dilbert strip.

      1. This was at Dreamforce, a conference for Salesforce. There’s context here within Salesforce that the query “Show me my most at-risk opportunities” makes a whole lot of sense and would be a very common query.

        Nadella was showing off how Cortana was supposed to be contextually aware of Saleforce, and thus “speak the lingo”.

        My sense is that the query failed because for whatever reason Cortana wasn’t contextually aware of Salesforce at the time.

        And while that’s good for a laugh, it’s actually pretty powerful stuff that seems likely to work well when that easy bug is taken care of (for example, maybe the beta feature wasn’t enabled).

        To answer the question regarding what the query means…

        When you’re doing sales, and tracking them in a tool like Salesforce, you’re essentially tracking them through a funnel. Every step along the way from a cold call to invoicing against a PO can be tracked and managed with even a large sales team.

        At any point, you can start doing projections to get revenue estimates, say for a given quarter. If you’re the head of sales, you might run that report, and then query, “show me my most at-risk opportunities”. This would alert you to which potential sales may not go through.

        With this information, you can do things like re-evaluate estimates, or allocate resources against those sales that are most at-risk of not happening.

  4. Just told Siri to turn off Low Power Mode after I got to a charger. She heard me clearly and completed the task. I told her “Thanks” and she responded “Don’t mention it.”

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