Microsoft recently announced that their propriety voice command service Cortana will be available soon at the App Store. The app was previously only exclusive to Windows Phones. However, late last month (May 26), the company revealed on their official blog that their virtual mobile assistant will soon be available for iPhones, which is included in their Windows 10 desktop features.

The company’s Windows 10 OS for PC will turn smartphones into paired devices. Similar to the Continuity feature of Apple, the new PC OS from Microsoft will allow the computer and smartphone to share files instantly (Office documents, OneNote, SkyDrive and more), use Cortana across two technologies, and access to Xbox Music.

What to expect?
In the featured blog, the Microsoft Chief Experience Officer Julie Larson-Green said that Cortana for iPhones will be able to perform “most of the things” that the app does on Windows Phones, including setting reminders and alarms, tracking flights, and calling people using its hands-free options. Everything that users access via Cortana will also show up on their PC and vice versa.

However, the company’s representative noted that there are a few features that Cortana on Windows Phone has that the iPhone app does not have, including opening apps, toggling with the phone’s settings, and responding to requests when users say “Hey Cortana.” This is due to the fact that the company does not have enough access for other OS to build their apps around the deeper features of their mobile system. 

Why expand?
The expansion of Cortana’s reach was Microsoft’s way of keeping their services open to more developers and users. In a study by Stone Temple Consulting, Cortana was way behind its two other competitors – Google Now and Siri. Among the three, Google Now has 58% of the market share, 29% for Siri, while 20% for Cortana. One of the main factors why users have stronger relationship with Google Now is that the search engine’s voice command offers more search results that the other two – Siri uses Safari while Cortana taps into Bing.

Aside from the voice command service, the company had previously expanded Microsoft Office 365 reach to other operating systems, including iOS. In fact, reports revealed in late April that the application had already reached more than 100 million downloads at the App Store and Google Play Store. 

Other Microsoft services are open to iOS users
Although the number isn’t particularly surprising given the free nature of the app, it goes to show that the productivity software is one of the in-demand apps across other mobile OS. This is due to the fact that smartphones and tablets today are built with their own manufacturer’s productivity services, such as the latest iPhone 6 and the iOS 8’s productivity apps that are similar to the Office 365 with text documents, presentations and many more features. In addition, O2 said that the new handset also comes with iWork features that allow users to work in real-time with others via iCloud, seamlessly. 

But, Cortana wasn’t the first Microsoft multi-platform service. Mobile apps such as Skype, Outlook, SkyDrive, and Word were among the software companies that previously released such platforms which are now highly in-demand at the App Store and Google Play Store. These applications are regularly featured by the App Store in their top 100 free app lists. In fact, the company’s multi-platform apps contributed to the increase of Office 365’s overall subscribers, with it now having 12.4 million paying customers that access Office PC apps and its cloud services.

Apart from iOS, Microsoft said they will open their propriety voice command to the Android platform. Microsoft officials said that the Cortana app for Android will be available by the end of June, while the iPhone version will be released later this year.

Written by The Goldie Clover
Exclusive for MacGameCast