Monday in CE: Nobody Puts Cortana in a Corner
No parent will ever admit they have a favorite child and neither will the CE industry with digital assistants. Thankfully, Cortana has made playing favorites pretty easy by being consistently left out of the conversation.
And against all odds, the team at Microsoft is determined to make Cortana work starting with, the aptly named, Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft's team collaboration and Slack-look-alike will be getting a Cortana upgrade on its first birthday, adding a slew of new functions such as recording, transcribing, and saving meetings to the cloud and inline message translations.
This is sort of a 'finding small victories in the big war' kind of situation. In the short term, Microsoft has pushed back against the $5 billion valuation startup, in just the first 365 days of being a competitor. It's aggressive but Microsoft could afford to be a little hungry and make a little noise. Microsoft has also revealed that 200,000 businesses in 181 countries are using Microsoft Teams, including NASCAR, General Motors, and Technicolor. This is a huge bump from their initial 50,000 companies using the service. On the other hand, Slack boasts 6 million daily users. The defining factor might be Slack's free usage, a move Microsoft Teams will make soon.
In the long term, this is really exciting news for Cortana. Use cases for digital assistant are hard to call limited but are certainly stuck in an early adoption phase. And that is certainly more apparent in the commercial standpoint, as Amazon and Google tighten their grip on consumer market domination.
All this to say, we could see a second wind for Cortana, who is all but down for the count.
Broadcom Returning to the US, Avoids Federal Scrutiny
Last Friday we got news that Qualcomm had some shakeup on their board of directors. It a vacuum, it is clear that the renowned chipmaker needs to appease some of their investors and everything is otherwise fine.
However, on the edge of this storm is Singapore-based (for now) Broadcom, who would love to acquire Qualcomm for a few billion dollars. However, strict rules from the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has shot down the initial offer.
That makes Broadcom's return to San Jose, California on April 3 an obvious next move. By fully relocating back to the U.S., the firm is likely to stop the national security panel’s review of its proposed merger as the committee doesn’t have jurisdiction over domestic tie-ups which a possible Broadcom-Qualcomm consolidation would technically become following the move.
And although the company might still see pushback from other branches of the U.S government, despite Broadcom dismissing any allegations that its proposed merger would impact the U.S. negatively. Broadcom also notes that they are largely managed by a board of American executives, making them more of a domestic product.
The Best of the Rest of the Net