There are people out there that think Microsoft is neglecting Cortana. It is true the company has not showed its virtual assistant much love recently. With news of Amazon bringing Alexa to Windows, Microsoft has been kicked into action. In response, Microsoft is expanding Cortana to more devices in 2018.

Ok, the truth is this was in the works for a while, but it is good to see Microsoft being proactive again with Cortana. The company has recently removed the assistant from Dynamics 365 and many have speculated the company will eventually retire Cortana.

Today’s news should cool those rumors as Redmond seems to want to expand Cortana support this year. The company says it is making it easier for manufacturers to implement Cortana Devices SDK into products.

“With the support of both existing and new partnerships, we’re continuing to bring Cortana to even more places in the office, at home and on the go. Regardless of the device or context, our goal is to put Cortana everywhere you need assistance, whether that is on your PC, phone, Xbox, mixed reality headsets, intelligent home speakers, thermostats and even more in the future. You’ll continue to see Cortana integrated on your favorite devices and services throughout the year to come.”

In a Windows Blogs post, Microsoft has detailed which companies are adding Cortana into devices in 2018:

“Allwinner: The Allwinner Tech R16 Quad Core IoT solution is now available with Cortana, enabling partners to build voice first IoT devices. The reference designs come with the software integration to equip device partners to deliver high quality Cortana devices reducing cycle time and overhead.

Synaptics: Synaptics is an industry leader in far-field voice processing for consumer IoT, smart speakers, PCs and beyond. Synaptics provides Cortana and Skype certified solutions that greatly reduce development time-to-market and provide a high-quality user experience. Learn more about Synaptics designs here.

TONLY: TONLY has collaborated closely with Microsoft to design, develop and manufacture Cortana devices that optimize Skype audio requirements.

Qualcomm: Qualcomm and Microsoft are excited to enable partners to build Mesh Networking and Smart Audio products that bring Cortana value to customers, through reference designs on the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform and Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform. Learn more about Qualcomm designs here.”

Alexa Competition

Microsoft is entering a critical phase in Cortana development. Last year, Amazon and Microsoft announced a partnership to integrate Cortana and Alexa together. Doing so will allow both services to borrow from each as a guest.

The collaboration was meant to happen before the close of 2017, although the self-imposed deadline was ultimately missed.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced its market-leading Alexa assistant is coming to Windows for the first time. HP, Lenovo, Asus and Acer are leading Windows 10 PC manufacturers and all have plans to support Alexa in their laptops and desktops.