Microsoft has often tried to push itself in consumer sectors, such as mobile phones, mobile software, digital media players, etc. There have been many failures over the last decade. However, the company always has a loyal friend in the enterprise market. With Cortana struggling in the consumer space, Microsoft could once again turn to business.
Cortana has been with us since 2014, when she landed on Windows Phone 8.1. The assistant joined a growing field of virtual voice assistants from tech giants. Apple had Siri, Google had Assistant, and Amazon arrived with Alexa.
While Alexa has soared in the consumer market, Cortana has struggled. That's a bit of a problem for a service Microsoft explicitly marketed as a personal assistant. A lack of traction for Cortana has not gone unnoticed by Redmond.
A new report suggests Microsoft is now “repositioning” the service to become a productivity assistant. In other words, the company is aiming for Cortana to become the assistant of choice for enterprise.
Windows Central reports that Microsoft is restructuring the personal Cortana experience. The assistant will not be removed from normal Windows 10, but she will likely end up in the Action Center. We have heard previously that this may mean Cortana becomes a typing service and not a voice controlled one for general users.
Microsoft calls this the Conversational Canvas:
“The conversational canvas is designed to be a continuous dialogue between the user and the system. Cortana will still be able to do common digital assistant tasks, including things like turning appliances on or off, ask it to define words, reminders, weather, and more, just like you already can today, except since it's a conversation view you have a thread. Because of this, you can scroll up and see what you and Cortana have said in the past, etc.”
Microsoft's goal is to make Cortana so seamless in the Windows experience that users may not even know when they are using it.
We have been writing for some time that Microsoft seems to be unsure what to do with Cortana. There were even fears the company would ditch the service. A collaboration with Alexa and confirmation that the assistant is in its plans allayed those fears.
Still, it is clear the company is unhappy with the direction of Cortana.