Microsoft delays tools for third-party Cortana integrations

Cortana Skills Kit was expected out in February, but it hasn’t materialized

Microsoft has delayed the release of its tools for connecting other services to the Cortana virtual assistant, a decision that could cause it to lose ground in a crowded industry.

The tech titan announced the Cortana Skills Kit in December of last year, saying at the time that it would be released to the public in February.

As Microsoft watcher Brad Sams noted on Twitter, Microsoft missed that deadline, and the Skills Kit remains locked in a private beta with a select group of partners.

Microsoft didn’t offer an explanation for the delay, saying in a statement that the kit will be coming soon.

The Skills Kit is important for Microsoft in the virtual assistant market, since Cortana is competing with the likes of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Both of those are integrated with external services, with Alexa boasting more than 10,000 integrations.

Delaying the availability of the Cortana Skills Kit isn’t a disaster, according to IDC Research Manager Jonathan Gaw.

While third-party integrations are a key part of Cortana’s future, he doesn’t think a brief delay will sink Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

“The difficulty is, with every passing day, they kind of fall behind Amazon a little bit more,” Gaw said.

According to Microsoft, it's easy for developers to port the Alexa skills that they’ve built for Amazon’s virtual assistant over to Cortana.

If that’s the case, Amazon’s early integration lead may not be as massive, assuming developers want to port their skills.

In December, Microsoft said a handful of partners were developing for the Cortana Skills Kit, including Capital One, Expedia, Knowmail and TalkLocal. It’s not clear whether any other companies have joined the program since then.

The delay may be partly due to the Windows 10 Creators Update, a major update to Microsoft’s most recent operating system, which the company appears to be finishing.

Cortana has been updated independent of Windows in the past, but it’s possible the team working on the virtual assistant is more dedicated to ensuring the quality of the forthcoming OS update.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?