Cortana To Invade Android And iOS In Microsoft’s Latest Cross-Platform Push

Apple's Siri software showed the world how handy it can be to have a virtual digital assistant at your beck and call, but it's Microsoft's Cortana helper that as aspirations of ruling the world. Well, the digital world, anyway. This attempt at world domination will begin with a new version of Cortana that Microsoft plans to port to iOS and Android.

As you know, Cortana is already available on Windows Phones, and when Windows 10 ships to the public, Cortana will spread its wings on the desktop. Sometime after is when Microsoft will target the two most popular operating systems on the planet with a standalone version of Cortana for tablets and smartphones. This will be a more advanced version than the current iteration of Cortana, one that's being developed using research from an artificial project called "Einstein."


Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research and a cog in the Einstein project, told Reuters that the technology behind the new version of Cortana can read and understand email. He also says that Microsoft is hoping to roll it out to Android and iOS sometime next fall.

This could be a genius move by Microsoft. The Redmond outfit already collects royalties on Android devices due to patents it holds, so instead of focusing solely on grabbing a larger share of the mobile market for Windows, it's not a bad idea to port software over to other platforms, especially one as popular as Android. According to IDC's data, Android is installed on 82.3 percent of the world's mobile devices, followed by iOS at 13.8 percent.

For this to draw interest, Cortana will have to be noticeably better than Siri or Google Now. Microsoft believes it can be, and with its ongoing work on speech recognition and machine learning, the company is hoping to transform its digital assistant into the first intelligent agent that can anticipate a user's needs.