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.