Cortana shows Siri a thing or two in Microsoft's new Windows Phone ad

Windows Phone 8.1 is now rolling out to existing devices around the world, following the recent launch of the first two handsets designed around Microsoft's latest mobile OS. The flagship Lumia 930 is one of those new Windows Phone 8.1 devices, but it's the Lumia 635 - its more affordable sibling - that's the star of the company's latest ad. 

The Lumia 635 costs as little as $99 in the United States, but that hasn't stopped Microsoft from pitting it against the much pricier Apple iPhone 5s in a comparison of the two handsets' digital assistants. The ad features a guy asking Cortana to remind him to wish his wife a happy anniversary the next time she calls; Cortana responds by identifying his wife from his contacts as Caroline, without him mentioning her name, and setting a reminder for later. Siri, on the other hand, can't help with such a request. 

Next, he asks Cortana to remind him to buy roses at any flower shop, and of course the assistant lines up the reminder as expected. Once again, Siri is unable to assist. Cortana's final act is one that doesn't even need the guy to make a request - he gets a traffic alert telling him that he should leave now if he wants to beat the traffic and get to the restaurant in time to meet his wife. That leaves Siri rather impressed. 

The ad is just 30 seconds long but still manages to highlight a couple of Cortana's most useful features. Check it out in full below: 

Source: YouTube via WinBeta 

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22 Comments

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Cortana needs to be made international. Having these ads boasting about how better Cortana is over Siri is irrelevant if Siri works in all countries and Cortana is still limited to the USA.

If Apple wanted to do a negative Cortana advert it would be equally damning. These sort of adverts are grubby and nothing to be proud of. Is this the best that Microsoft can do to promote their platform?

derekaw said,
If Apple wanted to do a negative Cortana advert it would be equally damning. These sort of adverts are grubby and nothing to be proud of. Is this the best that Microsoft can do to promote their platform?

I don't know about that. The examples in the ad are exactly the sort of thing I'd want a personal assistant for. Siri, in comparison, is more of a gimmick that only adds speech to tasks that can be better done with apps.

derekaw said,
If Apple wanted to do a negative Cortana advert it would be equally damning. These sort of adverts are grubby and nothing to be proud of. Is this the best that Microsoft can do to promote their platform?

So, what exactly can Siri do that Cortana can't?

Microsoft fails to realize that consumers will not switch platforms for things such as Cortana. They have improved their ecosystem tremendously but it's still not there yet. I was hoping Microsoft was done with the "versus" ads.

Edited by JHBrown, Jul 28 2014, 10:42am :

JHBrown said,
Microsoft fails to realize thar consumers will not switch platforms for things such as Cortana. They have improved their ecosystem tremendously but it's still not there yet.

I think there is more to this Ad than Cortana. To me this ad also shows humour which begins to paint a picture of Microsoft being a fun company. If people think MS are fun they may think more favourably towards them in general and towards their products too.

Dav-id said,

I think there is more to this Ad than Cortana. To me this ad also shows humour which begins to paint a picture of Microsoft being a fun company. If people think MS are fun they may think more favourably towards them in general and towards their products too.

I don't know David. It looks like the old Surface ads. The same type of setup and everything. These "versus" ads really don't do anything for Microsoft. I love their new Surface ads that get straight to the point and shows you what the product can do.

I think Microsoft just sees the opportunity to go after Siri because Siri is pretty dumb in reality. Hardly gets anything right and doesn't understand questions. I haven't used Cortana though so I don't know if she's equally dumb, but it shouldn't be hard to beat Siri.

I think you're talking apps and not ecosystem. Windows phone 8.1 offers some nice advantages if used in a Windows ecosystem that are not available with an iPhone.

I am sure that MS is aware of the situation. However, for people that has not moved to smartphone or are contemplating to move from another eco system, they can have an alternative - Apple with Siri that could cost them, or WP with Cortana that could do more functionalities for less.

In addition, MS mentioned in the past that they've made a mistake on their ads ...by not focusing on features compare to the Apple ads. When Siri was introduced, Apple's add for their new iPhone was all about Siri. Now MS has learning from those mistakes and are basically focusing on specific features - show and tell and compare at the same time.

JHBrown said,
Microsoft fails to realize that consumers will not switch platforms for things such as Cortana. They have improved their ecosystem tremendously but it's still not there yet. I was hoping Microsoft was done with the "versus" ads.

One of the first thing you learn about marketing is that repetition is critical. Purchase decisions are often "last straw" scenarios. I have no doubt that there a lots of people out there who have been interested in Windows Phone, but who have been "on the fence". Ads like these can be all it takes to tip them over the edge.

They won't convert someone who isn't already leaning, but they are effective for a certain segment.

And, more than anything else, they raise awareness, cause conversation, and "move the needle" so that a future ad, discussion, or sight of someone using the product may serve as that tipping point.

I will totally ditch Android when WP gets more apps. Having no google hangouts(or third party with group chat support) is really the one thing i need the most.

Beyond Godlike said,
I will totally ditch Android when WP gets more apps. Having no google hangouts(or third party with group chat support) is really the one thing i need the most.

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but why do you need a group chat app? How is that different than group texting?

As long as you are beholden to Google I think you're stuck with Android. But Group Calling in Skype is free for everyone now, so it is conceivable you could use the much more popular Skype instead of HangOuts in the future.

Avatar Roku said,
As long as you are beholden to Google I think you're stuck with Android. But Group Calling in Skype is free for everyone now, so it is conceivable you could use the much more popular Skype instead of HangOuts in the future.

Skype sucks. The app is so terrible on iOS and Android from what I've seen as well. The group feature is handy for when posting links/sharing pics/etc etc, you can see whos read the messages(unlike with group text),and overall is better because its accessible from a desktop as well.

Sadly, google owns this so well.