Microsoft's own digital assistant Cortana is a very curious case in 2018. It's a feature (service?) that appears to be alive and kicking internally, but showing little to no sign of improvement externally. Cortana has become stagnant in the digital assistant market; it's still mostly US only, its dedicated speaker game is basically non-existent, and its integration with Windows 10 (the only platform where it has any leverage) kind of sucks.

At this point, there's nothing Microsoft can do to compete with Google or Amazon. Cortana has fallen too far behind to play catch up, and honestly, it doesn't look like Microsoft wants to compete in the digital assistant market anyway, at least not in the consumer space. If they did, we'd have seen some action from Microsoft by now fighting back, but we haven't. So, what's going on? If Cortana is alive and kicking internally, why isn't Cortana improving on the surface?

Instead of chasing Google Assistant and Apple Siri, Microsoft is repositioning Cortana as a "productivity assistant" to help you get stuff done.

I've been asking around, talking to several sources about Cortana for quite some time now, because it fascinates me at how bad things have turned for the assistant. Remember that when Cortana first launched, it was a shining example of what a digital assistant should be. It was better than anything else on the market at the time, but ever since Windows 10 launched, things have fallen behind and never recovered.

As it turns out, Microsoft is well-aware that Cortana has fallen behind, and it also knows full well that there's nothing it can do to bring Cortana back up into the light for consumers. So, instead of wasting resources in even trying, Microsoft is attempting to "reposition" (for lack of a better term) Cortana as more of a productivity assistant rather than a 'personal assistant' that most digital assistants pitch themselves as. What does this mean? Quite a few things, actually...


Read more: The future of Cortana is all about helping you work better on Windows 10 and beyond | Windows Central