Microsoft Pits Cortana Against Siri in New Ad Showcasing Contextual Reminders, Traffic Alerts

Microsoft today launched a new video advertisement that compares its Cortana virtual assistant to Apple's own digital assistant, Siri, showcasing Cortana's contextual reminders and traffic alerts, two functions that Siri does not have.

In the ad, entitled "Siri vs. Cortana: Bigger," Cortana and Siri have a "conversation" where Cortana queries Siri about her new abilities in the iPhone 6 and Siri continually responds that she just "got bigger."

Cortana: Hi Siri, looks like you're in a new phone. Congratulations.
Siri: Yes, I got bigger.
Cortana: Oh, are you more like me now? Can you give reminders based on who calls or texts?
Siri: No, I got bigger.
Cortana: How about traffic alerts? Can you tell people to leave early based on traffic reports?
Siri: No, seriously, I just got bigger.
Cortana: That's okay. Happens to everyone this time of year.
Microsoft first announced Cortana in April of this year. The digital assistant, designed to compete with Apple's Siri, is named after the AI character in the popular Halo video game series and is voiced by actress Jen Taylor. With Cortana, Microsoft aims to emulate real personal assistants, and Cortana will ask questions and monitor user activity to learn more about its users. Cortana, available on Windows devices, can perform a few functions that Siri is not capable of, including scheduling reminders from text messages and mapping out traffic patterns to provide travel recommendations.

Siri may not have received updates specific to the iPhone 6, but the virtual assistant did gain new capabilities with the release of iOS 8, including Shazam music integration, the ability to purchase music in iTunes, streaming voice recognition, and hands-free voice activation with the command "Hey Siri."

Cortana has been starring in a series of anti-Siri advertisements since July, with the first advertisement highlighting context-aware reminders and the second showcasing Cortana's mapping capabilities.

Microsoft has a long history of targeting Apple in its advertisements, comparing its Surface line of products to Apple's iPad and iPhone. Just this week, Microsoft launched a new "Winter Wonderland" ad that pits the Surface Pro 3 against the MacBook Air, highlighting the Surface's kickstand, portability, and touchscreen.

Top Rated Comments

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68 months ago
You know it's bad when even Microsoft can make fun of you.
Rating: 64 Votes
68 months ago
Dear Microsoft... nobody cares.

Rating: 57 Votes
68 months ago
Gotta admit, they have a point... Siri has stagnated a lot.
Rating: 43 Votes
68 months ago

Dear Microsoft... nobody cares.


Considering how messy Apple is at the moment, Windows is becoming more attractive again. If you already pay a premium for a device, you'd expect it to work flawlessly (and not to be as buggy as Yosemite or unfinished as iWork for iCloud for example).
Rating: 30 Votes
68 months ago

So does Cortona really sound that good(her voice)?

Pretty much yes. I wish Siri was as useful.
Rating: 30 Votes
68 months ago
Of all the slow-moving Apple tech, Siri is the one I'm most disappointed about. What has changed since iOS6? She does Sports?

Since it's a sevrer-based service, every question has made it to some server somewhere, and a team of Siri people should be sitting there teaching Siri how to answer each one correctly, and if they had been doing that for 2 years, we'd have a pretty decent conversation going with Siri. But we don't.

"Siri, when's my next alarm?"
"... Here are all of your alarms in a huge list"

"Siri, did it freeze last night"?
"I'm sorry, i don't do past weather"

"Siri, do I have any mail?"
"Here are some internet sites about "have any mail""

"Siri, what's..."
"Let me stop you right there... Just google it."
Rating: 28 Votes
68 months ago

Wow, Cortina's speech technology does actually sound pretty impressive. Much less "robotic" sounding than either Siri or Google Now.

Then again, she sounds so "perky" that it'll probably get annoying after a while.

Well, Jen Taylor does possess that perky vocal quality. Kudos to Microsoft for keeping Apple on its toes. Competition is what keeps the tech giants from getting complacent. :)
Rating: 27 Votes
68 months ago
I don't know enough to compare between the two services on any serious level, but all I know is that it's irritating to only be able to use the Hey Siri functionality when plugged in.
Rating: 20 Votes
68 months ago

Then again, she sounds so "perky" that it'll probably get annoying after a while.

HEY! I see you're driving by the coffee shop again! Wouldn't it be great if you took a little break and got yourself a nice, hot cappuccino? I THINK IT'D BE WONDERFUL! YOU SHOULD DO THAT! YOU REALLY REALLY SHOULD!
Rating: 17 Votes
68 months ago
*YAWN* The real nice thing that nobody talks about is how developers can integrate Cortana to command it to do things in their app.

I wish Siri could do that, especially now that we can use it hands free when docked.
Rating: 16 Votes

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