Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Software Technology

Microsoft: We're Not Giving Up On Cortana (Even In Home Automation) (zdnet.com) 93

Microsoft is trying to fight back against perceptions that Cortana may be its next consumer-centric technology to face the chopping block. Yesterday, the company issued a press release touting recent wins for Cortana. Among these are the officially unveiled Johnson Controls' Cortana-powered thermostat (which goes on sale for $319 starting in March). ZDNet reports the "other recent Cortana device partners": Allwinner: This company has the Tech R16 Quad Core IoT solution (a reference design for device partners).
Synaptics: This ODM (original design manufacturer) and far-field voice processing vendor produces reference designs for consumer IoT, smart speakers, PC, and more that integrate Cortana.
TONLY: Another reference design vendor working with Microsoft on Cortana devices that make use of Skype.
Qualcomm: In addition to partnering with Microsoft on Windows-on-ARM "Always Connected" PCs, Qualcomm is building reference designs on its Smart Audio and Mesh Networking platforms that use Cortana.
"In addition to our currently supported home automation partners, we are announcing new partnerships with Ecobee, Geeni, Honeywell Lyric, IFTTT, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa, and Honeywell Total Connect Comfort. Cortana currently supports lights, outlets, switches, and thermostats across all providers," the spokesperson said.

Microsoft: We're Not Giving Up On Cortana (Even In Home Automation)

Comments Filter:
  • Cortana? (Score:5, Informative)

    by youngone ( 975102 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @05:09PM (#55904157)
    Would that be the thing that says "I'm afraid I'm not available to help in your region"?
    • Re:Cortana? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by beuges ( 613130 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @05:37PM (#55904341)

      Exactly. Instead of coming up with all this gimmicky stuff like voice-controlled thermostats, they should rather focus their energy on making the service available to everyone on Windows 10. MS has an infuriating habit of going overboard with features for en-US and treating the rest of the world as an afterthought.

      The current availability of Cortana's services [microsoft.com] is pitiful. It is constantly hyped about new features that have been added (they even got it to speak Klingon [theverge.com]), yet for most of the world, it's a glorified interface to Bing.

      Years ago, before Win10 was officially released, and when Cortana was first being developed, I read an interview with one of the high-ups in the Cortana project, who said that they were really keen on making it available in an alpha state to as many users as possible, as the key way to train it properly to work in different regions and cultures is to expose it to as much input as possible. That never happened, and the list of supported countries and regions is the same as when I last looked at it over a year ago.

      If Cortana's uptake is struggling, it's purely because they limited the user-base themselves to a market that's already invested in Siri, Alexa and Google Now, instead of entrenching its use in the regions where the other players aren't yet fully available. I also believe that's the real reason that Windows Phone failed as well. They did very badly in the US market because iPhones and Android were both already entrenched, but there were a lot of other regions where WP did really well despite the lack of attention from MS. So naturally, instead of solidifying their market position in those regions, they continued ignoring them and focusing on the US where they had already lost the battle, and eventually lost support from the regions which actually had it. Then Joe Belfiore complains that they had no support from developers, ignoring the fact that there's a huge number of developers outside of the US who were hesitant to invest in a platform that MS themselves showed no interest in supporting for their markets.

      TL;DR: MS needs to abandon this habit of region-locking features, and then complaining that people aren't supporting or using those features.

      • The current availability of Cortana's services [microsoft.com] is pitiful

        Clicked on that link and actually it's pretty good. It covers like 80%+ of the world's population, and includes all the top 10 countries by economy. It's hardly universal but I would call the list very solid.

        Cortana sucks, don't get me wrong, but that's not the reason why.

    • Or, "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"...

    • What really irks me is the Windows 10 lock screen scenery photos. Every single one I have ever been presented with, apart from ONE, is of somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, either Europe or US/Canada.
      The only southern hemisphere photo I've had presented (abouth 4 months ago) is of the Twelve Apostles in Australia. Why not more (or any!) photos from Australia, New Zealand, South America or Africa? Or even Antarctica?
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @05:13PM (#55904177) Journal

    Just include MS-Bob, and put it on a Zune running in a Pocket PC.

  • The users are trying to fight back against perceptions that Cortana may be Microsoft's next consumer-centric technology they are forced to use. Yesterday, the users issued a statement touting recent advances in preventing Cortana from functioning. Among these are the officially unveiled "Cortana-b-gon registry hack" (which prevents Cortana from running after significant Windows updates).

    • Unfortunately, Cortana could still spy on the users even after they thought it had been disabled, because through the camera it could see their lips move.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you still need Windows for something, then it should be in a VM. It shouldn't have any direct access to any hardware, and the OS itself shouldn't be running whenever you're not running your legacy application.

  • ZUNE? (Score:5, Funny)

    by hduff ( 570443 ) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @05:18PM (#55904213) Homepage Journal

    Will Cortana work on my Zune?

  • Is it because it's so entrenched in Windows 10? It wouldn't surprise me.

  • Oh, wait, I meant Cortana.

  • I wish they would give up on it. I turn it off or dial it back as much as I can, and whenever I'm on another computer I'm always annoyed by how in my face it is.

  • How much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Major_Disorder ( 5019363 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @05:55PM (#55904463)
    How much do I NOT want a $319 Cortana powered thermostat? I would tell you, but I can't even think of anything to compare it to. It might actually be the thing I want least in the world.
    I just replaced my thermostat a few months ago, it cost me about $50 and allowed me to program in different temperatures at different times of day, and day of the week. It wasn't even the cheapest on available either.
    I cant imagine that being able to verbally tell the thermostat to set the temperature one degree higher is going to be worth and additional $269. Especially since my thermostat is in the hall, a good distance from where I usually am.
    • by xlsior ( 524145 )

      I cant imagine that being able to verbally tell the thermostat to set the temperature one degree higher is going to be worth and additional $269. Especially since my thermostat is in the hall, a good distance from where I usually am.

      As long as the thermostat itself is smart and can interface with a smart ecosystem, location doesn't matter.

      My Nest thermostat is in the upstairs hallway, but I can easily adjust it simply by asking the Amazon echo in the livingroom.

      • As long as the thermostat itself is smart and can interface with a smart ecosystem, location doesn't matter.
        My Nest thermostat is in the upstairs hallway, but I can easily adjust it simply by asking the Amazon echo in the livingroom.

        That just makes it even more expensive, and privacy invading.
        No thanks.

    • I've got a 'smart' thermostat, but it's multi-zone, so each room gets it's own controls - that means one room can be cold while another is hot. It doesn't have voice control, but honestly, I set the schedules around about once or twice a year at most, and then just let it run. I can't really imagine needing voice as we scarcely even use the wall controls to change anything.

      This $319 thing is cheaper than mine, but doesn't appear to have multi-zone. It's not so much a 'smart' system as 'stupid as they come,

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I disabled it after Cortana tried searching the internet every time I wanted to run an application.

  • when you can sell $90 worth of electronics for $300+ you don't give that up.
  • It took a bit of time to figure out how to remove Cortana from the boxes infested with Windoze10:

    -Turn off fastboot
    -Boot with Linux distro of your choice
    -Rename all of the Cortana binaries
    -Enjoy not seeing useless waste of CPU by a process that Windoze lied about turning off

    • by Anonymous Coward
      All that when a single regedit can do the trick? Cortana is a component of Search. You can turn the Cortana component off with a regedit, then just log on again. You still might see "SearchUI.exe" described as "Search and Cortana application" in Task Manager, but the Cortana will be off.
  • Clinging desperetley to a lead lined life preserver. Remember Clippy?
  • over for us (Score:5, Informative)

    by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @07:08PM (#55904913) Homepage
    Maybe M$soft isn't finished with Cortana, but we have. We disable it via policies on all network connected devices. Pretty pointless in the office.
  • Cortana powered thermostat - maybe not as dumb as it first sounds.

    Disclaimer #1 - I do not work for MS, and I hate Cortana.
    Disclaimer #2 - I do not work for Johnson Controls, and I do not own any of their thermostats (at least, I don't think so), but to be honest, I do like the way thermostats let me control the temperature at home and in the office - what a clever invention!

    And did I mention . . . I hate Cortana. I have it completely suppressed on my PC's - never ever have to see it pop up, not ever. On

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @08:25PM (#55905273) Journal

    A $319 thermostat. So that I can use Cortana.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With a statement like that, Cortana must already be dead.

  • Cortana -- Not dead yet [youtu.be].
  • by kiviQr ( 3443687 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @11:58PM (#55906119)
    Is there a vision in MS ecosystem for the home entertainment??? MS had everything to rule home media! But Cortana cannot even play music from my PC - complete joke (keeps moving from Grove music, iHeart radio, spotify - more jokes).
  • Cortana is stuck up, useless and spies on me so I do everything possible to disable it. Tay on the other hand was a foul-mouthed belligerent racist that I'd install if I could just for the amusement value.
  • Slashdot 2020: "Microsoft has decided to abandon Cortana". My Microsoft Crystal Ball is amazingly accurate!
  • MS also did not want to give up on MS Bob, Clippy, Kin, Zun, Kinect, Lumia, etc.
  • They're full of shit, because Cortana doesn't work on my Xbox One and can barely understand voice commands on it. They gave up long ago on it.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.

Working...