Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, is one of the most impressive of its kind, outperforming its competition on an iPhone and a Moto X even in its early preview state. In fact, the early buzz surrounding Cortana has forced Microsoft to consider whether or not it would be worth bringing Cortana to more platforms in the future.
“It’s a bit of a head-scratcher for us right now,” said Marcus Ash, a group program manager for Windows Phone, at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle on Thursday. “It’s interesting to think about the future of these assistants and whether they become a reason to buy into the ecosystem. That is the other tension we have.”
With Cortana eventually making its way to Windows PCs, Android or iOS users who buy in to Microsoft’s digital assistant might feel a disconnect when swapping between their computers and their mobile devices. Of course, porting Cortana to other platforms could remove a competitive edge that the Windows Phone market so desperately needs.
“If you play this out five to ten years, and these assistants become the reason you choose Android or iOS or Windows, then what’s our position?” Ash continued. “Could Cortana be the thing that, as a Windows user, (makes me feel like) I’ve got to get a Windows phone?”
Integrating Cortana into iOS or Android would be a major hurdle, especially considering the software’s deep roots in the Windows Phone ecosystem, but Microsoft is going to weigh out the pros and cons before making a final decision.