back to article Persuading world+dog to love Microsoft's AI assistant a step too far for Acompli founder

Javier Soltero, head honcho of Microsoft's Cortana business, has stepped down. The move comes less than two months after Soltero took to the stage at Ignite to push the tech at businesses. Having singularly failed to capture the hearts and minds of consumers, the new strategy involved persuading enterprises that Cortana's …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Integration

    >> deeper integration into Redmond's productivity toolset awaits

    No doubt the plan is to integrate Cortana so deeply that businesses will have to use it, even if they don't want to. Genius!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Integration

    Hey, it worked for O365!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Integration

    and, in the future, if anyone's foolish enough to go to court against MS "bundling", they'll hear that "A demand to separate AI is as absurd as a wish to remove fonts or colour from W10. Would you try to do that, your honor?"

    Plus, the usual eat shit, 10 bn flies can't go wrong, i.e. "...building something that 100M+ users depend on every day"

  4. Alan Bourke

    Re: Integration

    The thing is that O365 is useful and highly popular.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alain - Re: Integration

    Belly button is also very popular, everybody I know has one...

  6. aks

    Re: @Alain - Integration

    When was the last time you used yours?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Integration

    Or indeed be told that packaging an OS without an AI would be as silly as packaging one without a browser. How would you ever get by without it?

    It was a bit before my time but I seem to recall reading somewhere that there was a group of people who did take MS to court with the claim packaging a browser with an OS was anticompetitive. Surely no one could be so short-sighted? How did they expect us to download apps? BITS? Floppy disks?

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Pretty obvious

    People want to use voice assistants like Cortana on phones and in home spyspeakers, and MS has neither.

  9. Thagomizer

    Re: Pretty obvious

    Yep. To succeed, a voice assistant needs to be useful in real-life situations. Cortina is just a gimmick, and a creepy one at that. As someone whose employer has bought into Microsoft in a big way, I can’t help feel MS (and others) have invested in the wrong technology. The whole digital assistant approach is wrong as there are too many variables to work efficiently for the consumer. This means the assistants become a means to limit us to the products, information or behaviours MS (and others) want us to have. We don’t need learning algorithms that will fail to anticipate what we need, we need something that will obey specific instructions to do specific tasks in specific ways. Our needs are more IFTT and less “you like spices and you go to the loo. Here’s an advert for chilli infused toilet paper.”

  10. MrXavia

    Re: Pretty obvious

    We need open standards, so we can choose our voice assistant separately to the hardware we run.

  11. quxinot
    Thumb Up

    Re: Pretty obvious

    >We need open standards, so we can choose our voice assistant separately to the hardware we run.<

    I will market the world-beating new AI: Sally the Mute.

    I expect to be rich.

  12. aks

    Re: Pretty obvious

    Cortana is on Windows 10 Mobile and can't be disabled. Shame they don't sell phones any more. I have one and it works extremely well, with monthly updates of the OS.

    That said, I'm still mostly using Windows 7 on PC's but Cortana has now intruded itself into Skype. At least there's a way do refuse its Suggestions.

  13. Roger Greenwood

    Cortana is a business?

    People depend on it?

    Flabergasted.

  14. BGatez

    I would pay to remove

    The first person to come up with a utility that not just disables, but removes all MS rubbish like Cortana, forced updates, telemetry has my money.

  15. eldakka Silver badge

    Re: I would pay to remove

    The first person to come up with a utility that not just disables, but removes all MS rubbish like Cortana, forced updates, telemetry has my money.

    If 'de-activating' is close enough (as opposed to actually deleting/uninstalling/eradicating/inhuming/liquidating), try: Shutup10.

    I've been using it for a few years and managed to avoid all the MS updates until I choose to install them (that is, about a month after they've been released and most of the bugs have been ironed out).

  16. JohnFen Silver badge

    That's the Microsoft way

    "As for the future of the technology itself, having been shunned by consumers as a standalone platform, deeper integration into Redmond's productivity toolset awaits."

    Naturally. Microsoft's antipathy towards users is neatly summarized by this -- if users don't want it, then they'll just shove it down their throats.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what's the opposite of Midas?

    buying Accompli was a disaster ... the existing Outlook Mobile (especially the Windows Mobile/Phone variant) was simply one of the best mobile email clients out there (IMO second only to the one Amazon built for the Fire Phone, and then scrapped) ... replacing it with that acquisition made no sense (and it is telling even now internally how many people use other alternatives like Nine in preference)

    Outlook on the desktop was then infected with the same "add bells and whistles but no need to fix the underlying issues" mentality (I have to assume Nadella has people to do email for him, otherwise he'd be tearing his hair... oh, anyway, you get what I mean)

    Cortana is a whole raft of wrong thinking. I remember back before the Echo days suggesting to that team that they build a standalone voice assistant but being told in no uncertain terms that was a stupid idea ... and their eventual standalone speaker clone was such a flop it's being almost given away now (and a number of high profile PC OEMs are integrating Alexa directly into their kit).

    Anon ... because I don't want to be buried in the rubble of the campus renovation!

  18. ColonelClaw
    Thumb Down

    Cortana, Zune, Bing, these are terrible, awful names.

    At the very least to be sucessful it helps to have a name that doesn't suck, human beings are precious like that.

  19. JohnFen Silver badge

    "Cortana, Zune, Bing, these are terrible, awful names."

    True, but considering the products they're applied to, that's appropriate.

  20. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    "100M+ users depend on every day"

    He's either barking mad, or just a punter about to flunk the next whiz quiz - for cause. Either way I think I can see why he is being encouraged to succeed elsewhere.

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