back to article Cortana. Whatever happened to world domination?

Somewhat harshly, Microsoft's Cortana was pronounced dead this week. Torn between wholesaling and retailing Cortana, Microsoft ended up doing a bit of both, and failed badly. It's also torn between what the brand actually means – an Alexa voice assistant, or an IBM Watson-like brand for analytics, covering a multitude of …

It would be negligent not to point out what a great thing Microsoft has squandered.

Microsoft has a habit of squandering good things, and pushing mediocre (and sometimes bad) ones quite hard. This isn't a new thing, either, it's been like this for ages. In fact, I can't even remember when it started...

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They can get savvy boffins...

...but for some reason that can't get savvy business development or marketing people. Considerign thatt hery have squillions of dollars to spend, WHY?!?

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Anonymous Coward

"Microsoft has a habit of squandering good things"

Symptomatic of a tech company driven by marketspeak/PR people, instead of the engineers where true innovation is found.

Sooner or later the marketspeak/PR people get bored or distracted, they lose focus.

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Devil

Microsoft has a habit of squandering good things, and pushing mediocre (and sometimes bad) ones quite hard. This isn't a new thing, either, it's been like this for ages. In fact, I can't even remember when it started...

Turd Polishers justifying their existence...

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Nadella

It's gotten much, much worse since the new boss started to put his mark on the company though.

The man simply doesn't have a long term vision, he's only out for the quick buck to keep shareholders happy. Under him, Microsoft has gone down the drain.

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can't even remember when it started...

OS/2. A decent collaboration between IBM and Microsoft that ended with Microsoft deciding to concentrate on Windows 3..

(And it's no suprise that the programmer API for NT 3.5 was remarkably alike to the OS/2 API..)

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Anonymous Coward

I was really excited by Cortana when it was first leaked... then I tried it... then they banned other search engines...

It's not even convenient. In the time that it takes to check the weather I could do the same thing in Firefox, which is far more likely to be on hand.

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Not just Cortana...

It's not even convenient. In the time that it takes to check the weather I could do the same thing in Firefox, which is far more likely to be on hand.

To be fair that is applicable to all Voice Assistants, not just Cortana

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I just look out of the window.

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I just stay in.

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Poor first impression

My first introduction to Cortana was when I tried asking it a question... and it promptly locked up the entire user interface and the only way to get out was to ctrl-alt-delete and log out of the machine (or reboot). I tried it several more times with consistent results.

So I disabled it and never used it again.

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I know what it is

" Now nobody knows what it is."

I dunno, it's pretty obvious what it is: an attempt to put a humanizing face on an incredibly invasive spy infrastructure.

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Re: I know what it is

Along with the other telemetry.

That's really the reason I try not to use these great "features" bundled into my OS or browser (or weight scale, telephone, toilet).

I just KNOW that someone is reading my habits and my weight and my dumps.

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Re: I know what it is

" just KNOW that someone is reading my habits and my weight and my dumps."

Wait...you shit literature?

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Wait...you shit literature?

Well, it seems to work for Dan Brown

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DJV
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@Mongrel

+1! Excellent!

The ability of Reg commentards to make me spit drink over my keyboard is one of the reasons I keep coming back here!

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Re: I know what it is

put a humanizing face on an incredibly invasive spy infrastructure

Like all voice assistants. Once they get to be locally executed I might start to get interested.

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It would be negligent not to point out what a great thing Microsoft has squandered.

Microsoft make things and then seem to be unsure of what they actually want to do with them.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft has an identity crisis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinect#Sales

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Re: Microsoft has an identity crisis.

Speaking anecdotally, the problem with the Kinect was: it isn't fun. Every title I played pretty much controlled itself while I attempted vainly to impart some sort of input. I'm not a fan of the franchise so perhaps that colours my judgement, but the Star Wars XBox 360 pack-in was the worst that I tried. It had a racing segment in which I discovered that as long as I held my arms in front of me, the vehicle would successfully complete a lap. Turning them sometimes made a difference, sometimes didn't.

So it was very similar to the Youtube experience of watching somebody else play a game, except that I wasn't allowed to sit down.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft has an identity crisis.

I think I got one for the kids, for Christmas just after the release. It was on eBay by February, having only used it a few times before the new year.

Great technology, shit for console games.

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Big Brother

Microsoft make things and then seem to be unsure of what they actually want to do with them

Too true. Take the Kinect, If they had just opened the thing to everyone instead of locking it down, they would be riding high on a new revenue stream. They are more interested in absolute control rather than making things that everyone wants to use because they are good. As it is everything they make is shit and must be avoided at all costs. Spying is the new reason to make anything these days. Ramming stuff down people's throats only works for so long.

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Anonymous Coward

Turns out people didn't want Cortana to 'learn more about them'... it's creepy.

Also, Windows Mobile is dead, and very few like to use a Microsoft account on Windows 10 to 'sync' and use Cortana.

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Apparently none of the microphones attached to my PC were ever compatible with Cortina^B^B^Bana anyway.

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Cortina is Portuguese for curtain.

Somehow that feels appropriate because it looks like curtains for Cortana fairly soon...

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Cortina^B^B^Bana

Having owned a (pre-disastered) Ford Cortina I can see the resemblance:

Handles like the suspension is made of marshmallow, bits drop off at the slightest opportunity and the whole thing leaks fuel and is only one spark away from firey death..

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Standard action - turn Cortana off...

... on any new Windows 10 box, remove all the tiles, run ShutUp10, then...

Follow by getting rid of all the non-Microsoft cr*pware which the manufacturer has 'helpfully' installed for the user.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Standard action - turn Cortana off...

Except the advert apps, you can't just uninstall those because it'll just redownload them. You have to block the URLs in your HOSTS file first. Even that will only block a few of them since some of the URLs mask more than one IP address.

0.0.0.0 localhost

0.0.0.0 spclient.wg.spotify.com

0.0.0.0 candycrushsoda.king.com

0.0.0.0 bubblewitch3mobile.king.com

0.0.0.0 a122.dscg3.akamai.net

0.0.0.0 c-0001.c-msedge.net

0.0.0.0 db5-dspcdn.tlu.dl.delivery.mp.microsoft.com

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Re: Standard action - turn Cortana off...

Remove tiles and cr*ware, run ShutUp10.., and, on notebooks, put some duct tape on the camera.

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Linux

Re: Standard action - turn Cortana off...

My initial configuration routine is a single step.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Standard action - turn Cortana off...

http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/

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Re: Standard action - turn Cortana off...

Also, take a look at Alex Hirsch's Powershell code to "debloat" Windows 10:

https://github.com/W4RH4WK/Debloat-Windows-10

Some of this stuff is pretty extreme, but being able to kill apps you can't uninstall by normal means sounds good to me !

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Re: Standard action - turn Cortana off...

My initial configuration routine is a single step.

"format c: /y"?

Or "boot from linux USB and install"?

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No platform

Alexa sits in a small $40 hockey puck shaped device on my kitchen counter. If I were to use Cortana, where would I use it? Turn on the desktop in my office? Keep a laptop running on my counter? Now that the Windows phone is gone, I can't use that.

The genius in Alexa is the small, inexpensive device. Amazon got there with the goods first, so it's too late for others to catch up.

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Re: Alexa puck

"Alexa order me a six pound hammer"

"I'm sorry Dave. I think you are buying that to do damage to me."

"No Alexa, I'm ordering it to kill myself."

"Order accepted. Delivery will be in 60 minutes by drone. Please stand outside in order to recieve the package."

Doh!

Seriously, how do you know that your Alexa device is not spying on your every move including that little trip to the fridge at 02:48 this morning.... :) :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No platform

No the genious in Alexa is getting people to accept a live microphone in their home.

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Unhappy

"The genius in Alexa is the small, inexpensive device."

ACtually the supposed "Genius" is the umpteen processor server farm sitting behind that broadband linked microphone that's meant to make sense of what you just spouted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alexa puck

"Seriously, how do you know that your Alexa device is not spying on your every move including that little trip to the fridge at 02:48 this morning.... :) :)"

I've run checks on my local network to ensure that no extraneous data is being sent to Amazon, and there's no spikes at times where I don't call it by name to indicate anything is sent except for that which I expect. I also subscribe to a number of security focused groups who would immediately tell me if any of the paranoia was justified with me noticing.

Sorry if that's not the answer you wanted for but for me personally, I'd be more worried about what that bloated, virus-ridden mess of a Windows computer you're using is doing with or without Cortana than I am about the Echo device.

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Re: No platform

Not just accept it but gladly pay for it too. It'll go down as the greatest scam in history.

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Re: Alexa puck

I wear a tinfoil hat.

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Re: Alexa puck

"I've run checks on my local network to ensure that no extraneous data is being sent to Amazon, and there's no spikes at times where I don't call it by name to indicate anything is sent except for that which I expect.

This sounds like a blog article needing to be written. I've refused to get one for similar paranoid reasons as others have mentioned, but if demonstrated to behave in a reasonable manner, then maybe it's worth greater consideration.

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Anonymous Coward

Should have seen this coming

Cortana was most useful on a mobile device. Microsoft is dead in mobile.

A significant use case for mobile assistants is recognising or playing music. Since Microsoft axed Groove streaming, Cortana has lost its ability to recognise music.

They ought to rename Microsoft HAL. The slow death of this company is heart-breaking / hilarious take your pick.

Reckon there'll be a few more Microsoft shut-downs. Moving out of the OS market one day? After all, they're the third ecosystem after Android and Apple .

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Re: Should have seen this coming

To be fair, Cortana incorporates some great technologies. But without a market to want it, it is dead in the water. Microsoft never found that market, because Apple and Google beat it to Mobile space (as noted), Amazon beat it to home appliance space, Microsoft couldn't think of a killer app in desktop space and of course who needs it in server space. IMHO it is desperately needed for automated supermarket checkout, but where's the glamour in that?

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Re: Should have seen this coming

HALirious, then?

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Anonymous Coward

Funny Pic.

Reminds me of this one:

http://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/hal-9000-2001-a-space-odyssey.jpg

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Wahahahahaha

Ahahahahahaha

-ex OS/2 user

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-ex OS/2 user

It would be nice if IBM wrote a version of WPS for linux - I'd use that as a GUI in a heartbeat..

(Gnome is OK but relies on systemd and so is a non-starter. KDE is (last time I used it) just not good enough. I've never tried Mate/Cinnamon)

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How is KDE not good enough?

It has umpteen more features and a gazillion times more configurable options than gnome has....

Maybe if you tried it duing it's transition phase to KDE4 7 or 8 years ago then that could explain it.

Try the latest kdubuntu or KDE neon...it's known as Plasma Desktop now anyway

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First WinMo, now Cortana... Hopefully Windows will be next.

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Anonymous Coward

No. Microsoft is too stupid to kill off Windows.

On purpose, anyway.

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