“Say goodbye, Cortana.”
That might be what Microsoft is contemplating saying to its struggling digital assistant. Cortana, or at least Cortana as we know it today, could end up on the Microsoft scrap pile, next to Windows Phone. To which I say, “Good for you, Microsoft. You just might be starting to learn.”
Cortana, as I said, has been struggling. It hasn’t reached the mobile ubiquity of Apple’s assistant, Siri, or made any headway into the booming market for smart speakers as have Amazon’s Echo and Dot and Google Home. And it likely never will.
How far behind is Cortana? Reports this summer said that Amazon had sold 50 million smart speakers. Google’s smart speaker sales have been surging as well. In fact, the analyst firm Canalys found that Google’s smart speakers outsold Amazon’s for the first time in the first quarter of 2018, selling 3.2 million units to Amazon’s 2.5 million. Cortana? Sales of the only smart speaker with Cortana built into it, the Harman Kardon Invoke, were too small to measure. And although Apple is essentially a no-show in the smart speaker market, Siri is so popular on Apple’s mobile devices it’s essentially become a cultural touchstone.
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