Microsoft’s Latest Stealthy Challenge To Android And iOS – Forbes
Microsoft’s slow advance into the mobile territory held by rivals Apple and Google continues this week with updates and expanded availability of a key mobile application that runs on the opposition’s platforms.
As iOS and Android circle the wagons to make sure that no other OS platforms can become established in the mobile space, Microsoft is playing a slightly longer game with a different target. Although Windows 10 Mobile is a great environment (and one that I personally enjoy) it does not have the market share or volume of mobile users that are needed to be self-sustaining.
Which is why Microsoft is not only focusing on cloud-based services, but also ensuring they are usable on both iOS and Android as well as Windows 10. A quick glance at the app stores shows the prominence of Outlook, the utility of Outlook365, and the quiet magic of OneNote all riding high. All contributing towards Microsoft’s cloud effort, all sitting on top of a rival OS.
Alongside Siri and Google Voice, Cortana is making a play to be the personal digital assistant of the connected world. It already has a strong presence in many consumers’ lives thanks to its inclusion inside Windows 10 on desk-bound computers. It has been available on Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone for a number of years. The iOS and Android versions of Cortana may not be as old, but the breadth of the platform means the addressable audience is one of Cortana’s largest.
This week’s update not only refreshes the user interface of the Cortana application following user feedback, but it also opens up the service to users outside of the US. Cortana users in the UK can now pick up the applications from the Google Play Store with the iOS version to follow
Cortana is unlikely to represent a big win for Microsoft on either iOS or Android, but it is another marginal gain for Redmond and these all add up. It will attract a number of new users to use Cortana on a mobile device (potentially those already invested in Cortana on the desk), it will increase the value of Microsoft’s cloud account on a mobile device, and it could represent enough heft to see another user make the commitment to Microsoft’s cloud.
Microsoft lost the big prize of a dominant mobile operating system. While it will still stay current in the space – I’m sure the Surface Phone is still on the way in late 2017 – the quiet stealthy progress of the cloud continues to be the real march towards the future.