Digital assistant wars: Microsoft buys LinkedIn for Cortana, Apple opens up Siri for developers
Microsoft acquired LinkedIn giving it access to troves of data that is likely to aid Cortana—its digital assistant. Apple, on the other hand, let developers in to its walled garden where they can now develop apps for Siri.
Two of the biggest developments in the digital assistant space happened over the past two days.
Microsoft agreed to pay $26.2 billion for LinkedIn giving it access to troves of data that is likely to aid Cortana—its digital assistant. Apple, on the other hand, let developers in to its walled garden where they can now develop apps for Siri.
Virtual digital assistants or digital assistants are automated digital systems that assist users through voice in written or spoken form.
Apple’s announcement will allow apps such as WhatsApp, Slack, Uber and Lyft, among others, to use the digital voice assistant for their apps on iOS based platforms. What this simply means is that once active, you will be able to use Siri to send a WhatsApp message, book an Uber or a Lyft, etc.
At the same time Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion or $196 per share. Though the acquisition gives Microsoft a foothold into the social networking market, the company will use it to boost its digital assistant 'Cortana'.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also talked about giving its Cortana digital assistant access to data from LinkedIn, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
While currently Cortana has access to limited information through Microsoft's products such as calendar and meetings (Outlook), co-workers (Delve) and accounts (Microsoft Dynamics CRM), there is much more information that Cortana can access to improve itself and become more personal—just like it was intended to be.
Through the data from LinkedIn, Cortana can help, for instance, a salesperson to know their clients thoroughly without the need for any effort. Apart from this, it would also give Cortana clients access to information about people's training and skill development through Lynda.com, part of LinkedIn.
The penetration of digital assistant systems is expected to increase to more than 3.3 billion consumer devices across the world from 821 million in 2014. This will include smartphones, tablets, smart watches, PCs, smart home devices and automobiles, according to report by Tractica.
Currently, the digital assistant market mainly consists of three players which includes Apple's Siri, Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana.
Keeping the over 3.3 billion consumer devices and their users in sight, these players are looking to up their game in the digital assistant space.