Apr 1, 2021
Microsoft's Cortana silenced as Siri gets new voice
Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant designed to compete with Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant, is to be retired on mobile. The death of the voice assistant on most platforms was announced last summer and in January, Microsoft ended support for Cortana integration in the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker. "Microsoft has made a sensible decision to double down on Cortana as a platform to aid productivity gains, closely tied to its business-centric tools and services. Increasingly Cortana will become deeply integrated into specific Microsoft platforms, rather than being a generic voice assistant designed to be all things to all people." Rival Apple has added two new voices to its assistant Siri, as well as eliminating the default female voice in the latest version of iOS. In 2019 a report by UNESCO suggested that using female voices by default for voice assistants "Sends a signal that women are obliging, docile and eager-to-please helpers available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command". Apple said of its decision to put the onus on users to choose the voice of its assistant: "This is a continuation of Apple's commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in."
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