Former Cortana Boss Javier Soltero Joins Google

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‘Hey Cortana… please forward my email to Google’, as former Microsoft man joins search engine giant

The former Cortana boss at Microsoft, and Acompli co-founder Javier Soltero, has joined Google to to lead its G Suite team.

When Microsoft in late 2014 acquired Acompli (a start-up that made mobile email software that ran across iOS and Android), Soltero transferred across to Redmond to begin working on Outlook, before moving on to Office and then later Cortana.

This means that Soltero has lots of experience of Microsoft Office’s business, and the hire makes a great deal of sense for Google.

Google move

Javier Soltero announced the move in a Twitter post on Monday.

“Some news on the professional front… I’ve joined Google to lead the G Suite team!,” he tweeted. “The opportunity to work with this team on products that have such a profound impact on the lives of people around the world is a real and rare privilege. I’m excited to get to work.”

The news of Soltero joining Google, even though he left Microsoft in November 2018 (a few months after the departure of Windows chief Terry Myerson), all but confirms the future of Cortana at Microsoft under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella.

In early 2018 Microsoft had promised that more Cortana-powered devices (mostly smart speakers) were on the way.

But Cortana-powered speakers did not exactly catch on, and Soltero’s final months at Microsoft was reportedly spent overseeing the integration of the virtual personal assistant into Microsoft’s business division.

Cortana demise

The future of Cortana had been speculated for a while, ever since Microsoft’s humiliating retreat from the smartphone market, where its digital assistant featured heavily within the defunct Windows Phone operating system.

Microsoft also confirmed in October 2017 that it was shutting its Groove Music service and told its users to switch to Spotify.

That decision resulted in the loss of a significant feature of Cortana, as Cortana had relied on Groove Music’s library to help people identify songs.

Microsoft also stripped back Cortana’s direct integration in Windows 10 and the Xbox One gaming platform.

Cortana has also stopped competing directly with the likes of Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, and is now apparently being turned into an app rather than a personal assistant, that involves conversational interactions for staff who are organising their day.

Quiz: How well do you know Microsoft?

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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