Microsoft recently promoted Javier Soltero, the former head of Accompli - which later became Outlook Mobile - to lead company-wide efforts for Cortana. Now, reports suggest the company is testing directly integrating Cortana into the company's mobile apps for Outlook, a move which may have something to do with Soltero's promotion.
The change would allow users to interact with the email app through voice commands, and not only allow them to dictate email replies or have Cortana read their email for them, but in true smart assistant fashion, also allow for more sophisticated filtering of mail through such commands. For example, one could ask Cortana to just read emails from a specific person.
The company is also said to be working on making the same work over Bluetooth, thereby allowing you to remain apprised of your email in the car, and without having to pick up your phone.
The feature is being tested on both Outlook for iOS and Outlook for Android, though the testing is, at this point, only limited to Microsoft employees. The report suggests that if internal testing is successful, Cortana may actually come to the beta, and eventually public, release of the apps.
Since the launch of the virtual assistant, Cortana has struggled with expanding its userbase, and is now under threat from the likes of Alexa on even its native platform. Microsoft's strategy of turning it into a multi-platform virtual assistant seems rather smart on paper but it's initiatives like these that will ultimately determine whether users believe it provides enough value for them to abandon Siri or Google Assistant in favour of a third-party option.
Source: The Verge