Microsoft is considering bringing Cortana to iOS and Android

The crown jewel of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is Cortana. The digital assistant is adding new features on a bi-monthly basis and will eventually expand on to other Microsoft products like Windows and potentially Xbox.

At SMX Advanced in Seattle, Microsoft’s Marcus Ash, group program manager for Windows Phone, said that the company is discussing internally if Cortana should make its way to Android or iOS.

The idea behind this thinking is that if someone was using Windows and iOS or Android, and Cortana was on the PC but not on their mobile phones, it would provide an incomplete experience. So, should Microsoft put Cortana on competing platforms to give the end user the best Microsoft experience possible, or should they keep it locked to Windows Phone to entice users to switch mobile platforms?

One issue Microsoft will have is that it won’t be able to integrate Cortana as deeply on iOS or Android as it can on Windows Phone, which means the user experience would not be as good or as complete there as on its own mobile OS. So, is it better to offer the digital assistant in limited capacity on these platforms, or avoid the other platforms entirely?

There is no right or wrong answer as each decision has its pros and cons. While the easy answer is to say, ‘no, don't do it', Microsoft does offer many of its apps and services on other operating systems. For example, on iOS you can now get Office on the iPad, and of course on Android and iOS you have access to Bing, OneDrive, Skype and more. So why should Cortana be any different?

Satya Nadella is big on the mobile first, cloud first ideology, but he has also casually mentioned that he wants Microsoft software everywhere, not only on Microsoft platforms (see Office for iPad and soon, Android). With this mindset, it would seem that he would want Cortana on every platform to spread Microsoft’s footprint.

It seems clear, based on the information that came out of the conference, that Microsoft has not made a decision about whether or not Cortana will venture outside of the Microsoft ecosystem. Cortana certainly has significant value to be locked into Windows Phone but at the same time, Cortana on iOS and Android could be the bait to get users to switch platforms if they know that the digital assistant offers even more features on Windows Phone.

Source: Geekwire

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Could always do it like what Google does with Now on iOS and have it as basically a "watered down" version of the service. The way I see it, Now on iOS is ok for some features, but it's nowhere near the full experience like it is on Android. It's actually enticing me as a reason to switch to Android.

...Or if you read the original comments, they have no current plans to bring it to iOS or Android and even if it seems like the thing to do, they won't de-value WP if it helps to build the platform.

Eh, keep it exclusive. Maybe give people a lite version app or something to bolster Bing but as far as full blown, gotta keep it exclusive. IMO.

If Cortana comes to Windows, MS could have a Cortana App in other Mobile OSs and check if the user has a Windows license so they can use the app. That information is stored in our Outlook accounts anyway. If you have Windows or an XBox One, you get Cortana in your Android/iPhone, you'd just need to log in using you Outlook account.

Microsoft seems to be playing two cards here. One for a future with Windows Phone and one for a future without it. they don't trust 100% on their own mobile OS.

xankazo said,
Microsoft seems to be playing two cards here. One for a future with Windows Phone and one for a future without it. they don't trust 100% on their own mobile OS.

That's what it seems like to me as well. If MS have doubts about WP then what does that say to the potential users of the platform!!!

There are SO MANY other areas they really need to focus their attention on... SO MANY things they need to do with their OWN platforms (beyond just getting touch-first versions of Office out on Windows Phone, Windows RT, and Windows 8... making everything in their own ecosystem work better together, more clearly, cleanly, and smoothly, getting developers excited and developing for their desktop and tablet and phone platforms again, improving Xbox One, Xbox Music, Xbox Video... and getting users updated to their latest platforms to provide critical mass for developers to target).

I'm not sure why they'd want to waste time on what will inevitably be something inferior to the native voice-command systems on those systems. Instead, use all those resources to make Cortana significantly better on Windows & Windows Phone (and Xbox) than the voice control & command systems on the other platforms.

Microsoft also needs a very large data set if it is to improve the service. Keeping it locked on Windows Phone could severely limit this. If it comes to iOS or Android it will be to get more data to improve the system more than anything.

The title is so far off base it's not even funny. Microsoft is not considering to bring cortana anywhere (else). They are questioning whether that consideration would be plausible.

Try being a journalist and not a writer looking for a punchline. At least WPcentral got it right..

I see Office365 to increase subscription base, Music and OneDrive for cloud server base for Azure. BUT I think Cortana should be exclusive only for Windows and Windows Phone only!
I see that more users are moving to Windows Phone, because of Cortana and of course Nokia and Windows Phone OS. I don't see Apple allowing Siri to be use on other platform, and I don't see Google sharing Youtube to Windows Phone anytime.
It would be a mistake if they do.

I think this is fine as long as it's only within their own apps (e.g. Office). Putting it as a standalone app on those platforms doesn't make sense. That's like wanting Siri on my Lumia... that's just silly. But having Siri in iTunes on my PC would be ok.

Cortana also means there is more usage of Bing and Microsoft's backend can grow. It isn't throwing in the towel any more than selling Office for Mac is.

Zagadka said,
Cortana also means there is more usage of Bing and Microsoft's backend can grow. It isn't throwing in the towel any more than selling Office for Mac is.

The problem is that the services they release on iOS and Android are often superior to their Windows counterparts, as a Surface owner I've been waiting for a Modern UI i.e. touch only version of Office for ages and what happens, iOS and Android get it first. MS should be looking after their own platforms first just like Google and Apple do and then provide those services on other devices.

Cortana is the perfect example, MS shouldn't even be thinking about releasing it on other platforms until it rolls out worldwide for ALL Windows Phone users first!!!!

Their heart obviously isn't in it anymore for windows or WP, should just can both and be an IOS and android service provider exclusively.

I vote on keeping it exclusive to only Microsoft. If anything make commercial showing the fun it is to have Cortana on windows devices and the Windows OS and Xbox.

i don't care if Cortana don't support xbox and windows later than ios and android as Office app and other app did.

I understand their new trend to offer the ecosystem services to all platforms but there's a limit not to cross... and this is one.

Microsoft should make it ubiquitous on their own ecosystem (Windows 8.x, XBOX, Windows Phone) before thinking spreading it elsewhere.

Cortana must first be good, become essential, be raised to the platform "iconic" state. Then, only then, could she be exported.

Yes, I have been noticing that many of the services I use on my Lumia and my Galaxy Tab hah a better experience on Android. This feels wrong every time.

TheCyberKnight said,
I understand their new trend to offer the ecosystem services to all platforms but there's a limit not to cross... and this is one.

Microsoft should make it ubiquitous on their own ecosystem (Windows 8.x, XBOX, Windows Phone) before thinking spreading it elsewhere.

Cortana must first be good, become essential, be raised to the platform "iconic" state. Then, only then, could she be exported.

Exactly, Microsoft should be looking after their own platforms first instead of treating them like second class citizens. OneNote, Office and Xbox services are all superior on iOS and Android compared to what they offer on WP.

This is what I don't like about Satya. He's going to devalue all of Microsoft's properties by making them non-exclusive. Why buy a Windows PC or a Windows Phone when all of the free software and services those devices offer are available on the iPhones, iPads, and Android phones everyone already owns? He's going to turn Windows into a loss leader that solely exists to sustain other services like Bing and Cortana, which generate little to no profit as it is.

Because I suspect everything Windows will go subscription like Office365, the OS is free but the user subscribes and can log into their MS account anywhere Windows is. The idea being regardless of device you have you get full MS experience for your money making a subscription easier to swallow value wise. They are already working on full Remote App x86 support (watch this space) which would allow you to access those apps while away from home etc.

MS must make the decision that it wants to be primarily a platform or a services company. It cannot be primarily both. If MS wants to be primarily a platform company, then it needs to keep its features as exclusive as possible to draw users into its ecosystem. It may implement at the most light versions of its services on other platforms, but it cannot implement full services because it will undermine its own platforms, and destroy its own ecosystem.

Of course if it decides to be primarily a services company, it will need to kiss its current ecosystem goodbye, as the disruption will send its core users, developers, and much of its customers away.

I have a feeling Nadella is going to try and have it both ways, which is going to drive core users, developers, partners, etc. from the company's ecosystem, and allow MS' competitors to gain traction in the enterprise.

I believe it was a mistake for MS to have chosen Nadella as CEO. The company should have went with someone who believed in the Windows ecosystem, and MS as a platforms company, and was all about reinventing and extending the company's platforms. Well, MS had a great run ...

I believe it is very important to note, when Apple introduced the iPhone and later iPad, it did not disrupt its Mac or even iPod ecosystem to do so. Nadella is very different. He is putting MS' core operations on the line, in pursuit of something no company has successfully been able to do. I believe it is absolutely wreckless. It is radical therapy for a company that doesn't need it. Sigh.

xpxp2002 said,
This is what I don't like about Satya. He's going to devalue all of Microsoft's properties by making them non-exclusive. Why buy a Windows PC or a Windows Phone when all of the free software and services those devices offer are available on the iPhones, iPads, and Android phones everyone already owns? He's going to turn Windows into a loss leader that solely exists to sustain other services like Bing and Cortana, which generate little to no profit as it is.

Cortana most likely will be used as a Trojan horse placed in those platforms to bring people into Microsoft's ecosystem: Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, OneDrive, Office 365, etc. If you control how information is presented to consumers, you control WHAT gets presented to consumers.

Microsoft's problem isn't that Windows or Windows Phone aren't good enough for most people. Microsoft's problem is that most people on those other platforms hate Microsoft without really having a reason to. They're not being exposed to any of the new services Microsoft has been developing over the years.

All of the free sh1t Microsoft puts out on those other platforms is a way to expose the masses to Microsoft's offerings, and if they like what they see, maybe they'll consider a Windows PC or a Windows Phone the next time.

Obviously, Microsoft thinks Windows and WP can win on their own merits, but if people are choosing not to look at those products in the first place, Microsoft has absolutely no chance no matter how good those products are.

TMYW said,

Cortana most likely will be used as a Trojan horse placed in those platforms to bring people into Microsoft's ecosystem: Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, OneDrive, Office 365, etc. If you control how information is presented to consumers, you control WHAT gets presented to consumers.

Microsoft's problem isn't that Windows or Windows Phone aren't good enough for most people. Microsoft's problem is that most people on those other platforms hate Microsoft without really having a reason to.

This is where you and most windows fanatics are wrong, microsoft had (and still has to some degree) such a strong monopolizing stranglehold that ALL Mac & Linux users have experienced Windows and are well aware of Windows. We have either grown up using Windows operating system (no other real choice in the 90's) and/or have used it at school and/or work. We switched because we did not like it, we have found better alternatives...The same cannot be said of the majority of Windows users though as they have never tried an alternative to Windows and just blindly go on using it thinking its either their only choice or they are afraid to try something different or thats in the minority.

Mac and Linux users have had plenty of experience using Windows and therefore are very vocal about our dislike of Windows and also have every right to be because we HAVE used it extensively and can speak from both sides of the fence, there is a credibility to Mac and Linux users that most Windows only users do not have.

I find it hilarious when I see windows fanboys comment things like, "mac users are sheep" or that "Android is laggy and ugly" or "this is the year of linux hehe". Its Windows users that are throwing around the insults not the other way around because guess what we couldn't care less how terrible (or seemingly great) Windows 8 is, or how Windows Phone will take off if only *insert whatever reason* happens, we know all about windows and do not use it for a reason and are plenty happy were we are.

Sonne said,

This is where you and most windows fanatics are wrong, microsoft had (and still has to some degree) such a strong monopolizing stranglehold that ALL Mac & Linux users have experienced Windows and are well aware of Windows. We have either grown up using Windows operating system (no other real choice in the 90's) and/or have used it at school and/or work. We switched because we did not like it, we have found better alternatives...The same cannot be said of the majority of Windows users though as they have never tried an alternative to Windows and just blindly go on using it thinking its either their only choice or they are afraid to try something different or thats in the minority.

Mac and Linux users have had plenty of experience using Windows and therefore are very vocal about our dislike of Windows and also have every right to be because we HAVE used it extensively and can speak from both sides of the fence, there is a credibility to Mac and Linux users that most Windows only users do not have.

I find it hilarious when I see windows fanboys comment things like, "mac users are sheep" or that "Android is laggy and ugly" or "this is the year of linux hehe". Its Windows users that are throwing around the insults not the other way around because guess what we couldn't care less how terrible (or seemingly great) Windows 8 is, or how Windows Phone will take off if only *insert whatever reason* happens, we know all about windows and do not use it for a reason and are plenty happy were we are.

Uh, wrong. Any freetard or iTard with any Windows experience used it long ago and think newer versions Windows gets riddled with viruses or BSODs constantly.

And LMAO at your "mac users are sheep" comment. Nobody says that. With OSX's single digit market share, why would anybody do so? It's iPhone users that are called sheep.

Edited by TMYW, Jun 13 2014, 5:50pm :

My edit didn't take:

Uh, wrong. Any freetard or iTard with any Windows experience used it long ago and think newer versions Windows gets riddled with viruses or BSODs constantly. Their experience with newer versions of Windows is as limited as the experience that you claim Windows users have with OSX or Linux. And you don't hear Windows users claiming Windows is better than OSX or Linux. What they do claim is that they can't run the software that they like on those other OSes.

I, OTOH, have used OSX, and I don't see what the hell is so compelling about it. It's just different. And if you're used to Windows hotkey mappings, that difference is quite an annoyance. OSX's standard hotkey mappings are retarded. The command key is too close to the C, so you have to do finger gymnastics if you want to copy anything.

And LMAO at your "mac users are sheep" comment. Nobody says that. With OSX's single digit market share, why would anybody do so? It's iPhone users that are called sheep.

Why would it be throwing in the towel? It's impossible to make something that'll be wanted by 100% of the users, including a phone's OS. It would be silly not to, like they're doing with some other products of theirs.

Gergel7077 said,

Stupid comment.

Not at all, the fact is that the paradigm is shifting: a OS is no longer the main source of revenues for the company... Services are nowadays the main source of revenues: Office ecosystem, other backend services like Azure etc.
Like it or not the OS, at least for the short, mid terms is becoming a commodity used to hook users in these services. Furthermore if MS will get more and more in the hardware business this will only accentuate this trend.

Cosmocronos said,

Not at all, the fact is that the paradigm is shifting: a OS is no longer the main source of revenues for the company... Services are nowadays the main source of revenues: Office ecosystem, other backend services like Azure etc.
Like it or not the OS, at least for the short, mid terms is becoming a commodity used to hook users in these services. Furthermore if MS will get more and more in the hardware business this will only accentuate this trend.

Yeah, lets buy Nokia then say, eh, we are done making phones.

Scabrat said,

Yep. They are on iOS and OSX Yosemite for now =).

Yeah, but since they don't have a search engine, that are either going to use Bing, google, or yahoo. Don't see Google now being put on iOS systems.

uxo22 said,

Yeah, but since they don't have a search engine, that are either going to use Bing, google, or yahoo. Don't see Google now being put on iOS systems.

Google now is on iOS, it's in the Google search app.....

Exactly. Why should people switch if Microsoft shares all of its cool features with the other players?

Some certainly should be shared to show off what Microsoft can do compared to the competitors, but they need to keep some of their toys exclusive.

I'm not advocating the "Share nothing" attitude Google has when it comes to Microsoft's platforms, but sharing everything isn't good either. There needs to be a middle ground.

And by then google will add more features and people will get attached to google even more and will not move to WP. Its better to give free dev accounts and attract more developers than doing this crap. If MS could make their services reliable it would be great.

techbeck said,
I would figure this would help attract people to WP. Keep it exclusive.

I agree 100%

haha, Microsoft done lost they damn mind. :)

I think they should put it on other OS's for the simple reason that MS is a software company. They should get their software on as many platforms as possible. The more people that use it, the more money they make.

Xenon said,
I think they should put it on other OS's for the simple reason that MS is a software company. They should get their software on as many platforms as possible. The more people that use it, the more money they make.

Yeah, but Cortana isn't an app. It's a windows phone feature. Android and Apple has their digital assistants. I personally think that if there are people that like Cortana and was going to buy a windows phone, that they would not do so if they can get Cortana on one of the competing systems.

Also, Microsoft now has Surfaces, Phones, and Consoles, along with many accessories and peripherals. They are no longer just a software company.

They need to try and make their brand stand out, and it's difficult to do they when every time they get something that people want (office, cortana, etc.) they go out and release it on competing platforms.

In my opinion, it just doesn't make sense.

My feeling is that I don't think anyone would buy a windows phone just because of Cortana. I wouldn't and I don't think that non tech people would. If windows phone had say 50% of the market I would agree. But since they don't, why not get more users and perhaps try to get them to look at windows phone.

Xenon said,
My feeling is that I don't think anyone would buy a windows phone just because of Cortana. I wouldn't and I don't think that non tech people would. If windows phone had say 50% of the market I would agree. But since they don't, why not get more users and perhaps try to get them to look at windows phone.

Okay, I hear what you are saying, but please explain to me how if no one would buy a windows phone because of Cortana, how adding Cortana to competing systems would result in "getting more users" and "getting them to try windows phone"?
Wouldn't that effort by better served by "not" allowing MS software to be on other systems? You know, if you want to try this, then you need to by a windows phone.

Isn't that the same business plan all of the cellular provider are using with getting exclusive phones?

"Halo effect"... Finally someone that sees it clearly. Same happened to iTunes when it came out for PCs and then hell got loose!