Why Microsoft Didn’t Win the Speaking Tech War

Microsoft has been a giant in the tech world for decades, but they’ve always been better at making software than they have been at making hardware. In recent years, they’ve been trying to change that, with varying degrees of success. But why haven’t they been able to make a bigger dent in the hardware market?

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When Microsoft came out with Cortana, their speaking digital assistant, it was able to understand and respond to user questions with a degree of accuracy that surpassed all other competitors. Despite this, Cortana never caught on in the way that Microsoft had hoped, despite significant investments in marketing and promotion. In this article, we’ll explore some of the potential reasons why this might be the case.

The state of speech technology

The state of speech technology is currently in a transition period. The early success of voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant has shown the potential of the technology. However, these assistants are still far from perfect and have limited functionality. Microsoft has been working on speech technology for many years but has not been able to gain market share. The main reason for this is that Microsoft’s approach to speech technology has been focused on accuracy rather than usability. This has led to Microsoft’s products being difficult to use and understand. In addition, Microsoft has not been able to create a natural and human-like voice for its products. This has made them seem robotic and impersonal.

The challenges of speech technology

There are many challenges associated with speech technology, which likely explains why Microsoft hasn’t been able to win the speaking tech war. First, translating spoken words into text is far from perfect. While there have been significant improvements in this area in recent years, there are still errors that can occur. Second, not everyone speaks the same way, making it difficult for speech recognition software to understand everyone perfectly. Third, ambient noise can interfere with speech recognition, making it more difficult for the software to hear and understand what is being said. Finally, some words are just difficult to discern when they are spoken quickly, making them more difficult for speech recognition software to translate accurately.

Why Microsoft didn’t win the speech technology war

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In the 1990s, Microsoft was the undisputed king of tech. They dominated the desktop with their Windows operating system, and their Office suite of productivity applications was the standard for businesses and consumers alike. But there was one area where Microsoft failed to gain any traction: speech technology.

Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant are all based on speech recognition technology that was developed by universities and research labs, not by Microsoft. And while Microsoft has been working on speech recognition for years, they have never been able to match the accuracy or usability of these consumer-facing products.

So why didn’t Microsoft win the speech tech war? There are a few possible explanations:

1. They were late to the game. Speech recognition technology has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the early 2010s that it became good enough for widespread use. By that time, Siri, Alexa, and Assistant were already well-established products.

2. They missed the mobile revolution. The rise of smartphones presented a perfect opportunity for Microsoft to get into speech tech. But they failed to develop a competitive product for this new platform.

3. They underestimated the challenge. Speech recognition is a notoriously difficult problem to solve, and even today no one has been able to create a perfect solution. Microsoft may have assumed that they could just apply their usual engineering firepower to the problem and come up with a winning solution, but that didn’t happen.

4. They got too much help from Hollywood. One of Microsoft’s early attempts at speech recognition was called “Hollywood” because it relied heavily on movies and TV shows for training data. This made it good at understanding common words and phrases, but bad at understanding real-world conversation.

5 .They bet on the wrong hardware . In the early days of speech recognition , there were two main approaches: software-based (which required powerful computers) and hardware-based (which required specialised devices). Microsoft betting on software-based solutions . But as processing power became increasingly democratised , hardware -based solutions like Siri , Alexa ,and Assistant emerged as the clear winners . end


Microsoft has been a dominant player in the tech industry for decades, but it has never been able to gain a foothold in the speech recognition market. This is largely due to the company’s focus on other areas, such as operating systems and productivity software. While Microsoft has made some progress in recent years with its Cortana digital assistant, it remains far behind its rivals in this area.

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