According to multiple reports, Alexa is coming to PC. Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo all run computers with built-in Alexa support, which means you’ll be able to ask your PC a question the same way you ask your Echo.
It makes sense: The Amazon Echo is selling very well, and OEMs naturally want some part of the virtual assistant market. Adding a third-party tool is the best way to do this because Microsoft didn’t add the Windows Virtual Assistant back in 2015.
Oh wait. They did. It’s just that nobody uses it.
OEMs are adding a third-party PC voice assistant because they believe it’s a feature that will help them sell computers. This says a lot about how much Acer, ASUS and Lenovo trust Cortana.
Microsoft pushed Cortana, Hard
We know that Microsoft really wants you to use Cortana. The evidence is right at the bottom of the screen.
The Windows 10 taskbar is one of the most valuable billboards in technology, seen by hundreds of millions of users every day at the bottom of the screen. So using that space to promote a product is no small undertaking for Microsoft.
Since the release of Windows 10, this space has been dominated by one feature. Look at it:
The Cortana box has the most prominent space imaginable sitting to the right of the famous start button. It’s also huge, around six regular icons.
Microsoft is actively using its most valuable real estate to promote Cortana.
And it goes further. Cortana is now the face of the Windows Installer, asking users questions directly during the initial setup. Microsoft even named the Assistant after a beloved character from the once-popular Halo video game franchise.
Clearly, Microsoft has put a lot of effort into Cortana, but when was the last time you used it?
If you’re like most people, you gave it a go, and you may even have looked at a few lists of things you can do with Cortana out of curiosity. But in the end, you probably ignored this thing and maybe even looked at how to completely hide the Cortana icon to free up space on the taskbar.
RELATED:15 things you can do with Cortana on Windows 10
And it makes sense. Cortana just isn’t useful enough for anyone to consider changing their habits. Reddit and Twitter are rife with examples of Cortana refusing to answer a basic question or otherwise getting it wrong.
Microsoft put everything they had into pushing Cortana forward, but in the end it’s just not useful enough for people to actually use. Microsoft seems to know this on some level. Some features have stopped working, including song recognition, indicating that the service is no longer a priority.
Microsoft also has an agreement with Amazon that allows Cortana users to ask Alexa questions, and vice versa. Obviously, PC makers would prefer to skip the Cortana middleman and link their users directly to Alexa.
This is probably a good idea. Anyone with Echo will have access to the same assistant on their computers, without having to awkwardly ask Cortana for permission first. And Alexa can do a lot more than Cortana anyway. So OEMs will be adding Alexa to PCs and users can actually use it while ignoring or hiding the huge pain in the eye of Cortana in their taskbar — like most Windows users have since 2015.