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Cortana to Reach China and the UK Within Weeks, Not Months: Microsoft

Cortana to Reach China and the UK Within Weeks, Not Months: Microsoft
Microsoft is all set to roll-out its voice-based virtual assistant Cortana to Windows Phone 8.1 devices in China and the UK within weeks, not months, according to Marcus Ash, Windows Phone Group Program Manager.

While commenting on the availability of Cortana in the UK before getting it to other platforms like Android and iOS, Ash tweeted the roll-out as Microsoft's top priority for Cortana, "I should have added one. 0. Making #Cortana available in the UK and China will happen very soon. Weeks not months."

The company had in April unveiled Cortana as a part of the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview in the US in beta mode, and then also announced plans for China and UK in the second half of 2014, with other regions by 2015.

The tweet response by Ash was a part of series of answers numbered 1 to 9 on Twitter regarding Cortana being made available to other platforms. It seems that Microsoft is not in a rush and is only evaluating the merits of bringing it to other platforms. But before that, it wants Cortana to go global in its best working conditions.

"6. Only after we execute on #1 - #5 do we consider #Cortana anywhere other than Windows devices which are only thoughts/questions, no plans" Ash wrote on Twitter.

Last week, speaking at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle, Ash had said that Microsoft wants Cortana to be "pervasive" across regions, devices and platforms. Not just Android and iOS platforms but other form factors like desktops, vehicles, and kiosks are also under consideration.

"We want to scale Cortana internationally and across devices. The Android/iOS question is interesting. We're asking, would Cortana be as effective if she didn't have access to the details on your phone? We're still trying to get Cortana adopted on Windows Phone and figure out what it wants to become there. But we're actively talking about this. I think it's natural to think that an assistant that only runs on one device ... the idea that she will be very pervasive is important to us," said Ash.

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