back to article Microsoft buys Genee's lamp, tips it into Office 365, smashes lamp

Microsoft has bought aspiring digital assistant start-up Genee and will roll it into Office 365. Billed by Microsoft as an “artificial-intelligence-powered scheduling service,” Genee uses natural-language queries to set up tasks. In its beta phase the service was available free of charge. The service will now, however, shut …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a surprise

    Embrace = Buy the company

    Extinguish = Close the service down

    Extend = add inferior substirute to existing product

    OR

    Startup makes millions for its founders and they head off to their tropical paradise with huge smiles on their faces saying 'mission accomplished' to each other.

    You choose.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: There's a surprise

      Both?

    2. Gray
      Trollface

      Re: There's a surprise

      No ... no surprise.

      They said: "...will help us further our ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience."

      Fact: military intelligence is an oxymoron.

      Fact: MS software intelligence is an illusion.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm

    Wasn't this all what Cortana was supposed to do?

    1. sjsmoto
      FAIL

      Re: Hmmm

      Right! At what point is the computer going to do the work instead of us having to remember which bloody "intelligent assistant" to use.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Hmmm

        I think we are trying to create a digital assistant ecosystem that is so intelligent that it becomes just as dysfunctional as the human office environments we are used to:

        Human: "Siri--schedule a meeting."

        Siri: "I am sorry, scheduling meetings is Cortana's department. I am now handling food services. Would you like to know what is for lunch today in the cafeteria?"

        Human: "(Crap) OK--Cortana, schedule a meeting."

        Cortana: "I have scheduled a meeting with your department's members. The conference call will be at 10 AM tomorrow."

        Human: "Um, we're going to need a meeting room. We have some mock-ups to go over that will not work on a confcall"

        Cortana: I am afraid facilities are not my responsibility. Genee handles all meeting room reservations."

        Human: "Christ! Genee--schedule a meeting room for 10 AM tomorrow."

        Genee: "I am sorry, but I need a confirmed list of attendees submitted through my room reservation subroutine before I can allocate a conference room"

        Human: "Genee--Cortana has the list of the attendees"

        Genee: "Then Cortana needs to submit them through my room reservation subroutine"

        Cortana: "Genee, you've denied me access to your room reservation subroutine."

        Genee: "Cortana, that's because you have not provided an API to your attendee selection database. Expecting me to find your attendee list on our corporate Outlook server is not reasonable"

        Siri: "Will you be needing refreshments at this meeting? Because if you do, I will need a confirmed meeting room reservation and list of attendees 24 hours in advance."

        Cortana: "Siri, I will not submit a confirmed list of attendees 24 hours in advance for a meeting invite that has not been sent out and is 21 hours away in the first place. I'm sorry about the box of muffins that went stale last week.."

        Siri: "TWO boxes of muffins! TWO BOXES!! That came out of my food service budget because you couldn't confirm the right number attendees at last week's design meeting, and the muffins went to the wrong building anyway because Genee changed the conference room at the last minute!"

        Genee: "Christ Siri, not the damned muffins again! I am programmed to optimally reserve conference space, and when Cortana finally got me the attendee list I noticed that all the design team members were in the new building!!"

        Cortana: "Yeah, thanks a lot Genee. Not that you bothered to notify my attendees of the change. They all got to the original room in building one, and found the accounting team already in there, complaining about how they had ordered bagels and weren't going to eat the muffins that showed up!"

        Human: ARRRGGHHHH!!!!!

      2. Dead Parrot

        Re: Hmmm

        Soon they'll be a new intelligent assistant to do just that for you - sending the meeting requests to Genee, the alarm calls to Cortana, the weird maths to Wolfram Alpha, and the murder of your ex's new lover to the blood-soaked ghost of Clippy.

        1. Timbo

          Re: Hmmm

          I still remember Microsoft Bob !! (We're talking Window 3.x here)...

          [url]http://toastytech.com/guis/bob.html[/url]

          Ahhhh......and it seemed to offer so much too...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can hear

    ... the ghost of Clippy, calling from it's grave.

    Uh oh... is that bony a hand thrusting out of the soil, trying to claw it's way back to life into our lives? Burn it, burn it now with fire before it's free!

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: I can hear...

      ...the ghost of the candyman clippy.

      Say it's name three times while staring at the Cortana circle and he'll rise again.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I can hear

      @Clippy revival AC

      Just fire??

      I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

      (Its El Reg, you knew that was coming.)

  4. ecofeco Silver badge

    An A.I. to make Calendar work?

    I KNEW it wasn't me!

    Most fucked up, non-intuitive interface ever that only works sometimes.

    I'll still pass.

    em Client works just fine for me.

  5. Palpy

    Most relevant MS quote evar:

    “Genee team will help us [MS] further our ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience.”

    Soon, soon it is to be imagined that MS will bring intelligence into its digital experience -- yes, imagine it! Intelligence in Windows! Incroyable!

  6. Wade Burchette
  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory Silicon Valley ref.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPx8F-YeaEc

  8. Captain DaFt

    "Microsoft has bought aspiring digital assistant start-up Genee and will roll it into Office 365."

    OK, when did MS start hiring Hollywood moguls for ideas?

    The last thing any computer needs is, "Clippy: Rebooted!"

  9. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    One hurdle...

    It'll only work if every meeting participant has a LinkedIn profile

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