Microsoft, at its annual customer conference in Orlando, Fla. this week, announced plans to more deeply integrate its Cortana digital assistant with cloud-based Office applications, reported VentureBeat. This includes Teams, Microsoft’s answer to Slack in the workplace chat market.
The move clears up some of the murkiness around Microsoft’s plans for Cortana, which once looked poised to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant in the consumer market. Instead, Microsoft now seems to be using Cortana to drive more adoption of its Office 365 cloud productivity applications.
Such a move would be in line with Microsoft’s belief that using AI to augment Office applications can make them more enticing to customers–a view that co-founder Bill Gates also holds. This also gives Microsoft a chance to flex its considerable AI research capabilities, particularly in areas such as helping computers comprehend human speech.