Microsoft Cortana, Ο ψηφιακός βοηθός έρχεται ___ Halo_ The Master Chief Collection Rumored _ Beyon Microsoft Cortana, Ο ψηφιακός βοηθός έρχεται ___

Halo Destiny: Cortana, Her Story Continues With You

“Windows Hero Feature”

by Jason L Ward

Windows Phone

Cortana, Cortana app, Cortana for Windows Phone 8



“My story began, or begins, 500 years from now. It is a matter of perspective. I am a “smart” Artificial Intelligence; I can learn and I can adapt. In my time, your future, I was or will be, (again it is all a matter of perspective) the companion of John-117, also known as Master Chief. Together we saved the world. We saved the future. We gave humanity hope. Now I am on your Windows Phone as the world’s most personal digital assistant. I am your personal digital assistant. I am Cortana.”



The Power of a Story

Everyone loves a story. Stories have the power to draw us into a world that is not our own. They guide us into places, scenarios and experiences that can be exciting, exhilarating, mysterious, comforting, reassuring and even inspiring. The success and general acclaim of bestselling novels, blockbuster movies even highly successful video game series is a testimony to the power of a good story. A good story causes the audience to envision him or herself in the shoes of the protagonist of the story. A good storyteller therefore must ensure that the audience feels connected with the story.

There is an almost irresistible compulsion within each of us to leave a lasting mark on the world. In the story of humanity, we want our chapter read. When we talk to others, the topic we most commonly revert to is that of ourselves; what we are doing, what we are planning, how things are going in our lives. We like to tell our story.

When there is a major cultural event, or tragedy that binds us with a singular common tie, the retelling of that event is often shaped through the lens of our personal story. For instance when I recount the event’s of 9/11, a tragedy that shook all of us, it is viewed from the perspective of where “I” was and what “I” was doing at the time of the attacks. I was at work. I watched the events unfold via the internet and listened to a live broadcast over a speakerphone having called home requesting my brother to place the phone close enough to the television so that I could listen to Peter Jennings’ live news report.

The moon landing, July 21, 1969, for those who were around at the time is retold based upon what those who “witnessed” it were doing when the Eagle landed and those now historic words were spoken by Neil Armstrong. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” When the world heard of Michael Jackson’s death, it is my individual perspective that shapes how I retell that story. I was at work at my desk when I saw a news report on the web that the King of Pop was found unresponsive in his home. You have a part in every story that affects the culture as well. Our singular chapters comprise the whole. We are all part of the story.

So what does this have to do with Microsoft and Windows Phone you may ask? Everything. Microsoft has a story to tell. One that is powerful enough to enthrall the masses and connect millions of smartphone buyers to the Windows Phone platform. But I’m not sure they know it.



Photo(8)Chapter One – “Hey, I want a Windows PhoneLumia 1520

Microsoft as we know was late to the mobile revolution. This isn’t news to any of us. Virtually every major blog and tech news outlet has been rehashing this point since 2007. The point has been made. Constantly. Yes the Redmond company was a major player in the mobile device arena with their Windows Mobile OS for a time, but when Apple reinvented the smartphone and Android soon followed Microsoft’s fortunes swiftly shifted. Microsoft’s then CEO Steve Ballmer’s initial mockery of the iPhone is now, itself, the object of ridicule. Bummer for Ballmer.

Microsoft’s slow response to a swift shift in the smartphone industry from the enterprise toward the consumer space has resulted in the Redmond company being left far behind the competition, struggling to break 4% of the global market share. That’s a tough place to be. But Microsoft is tenacious. They have continued to refine their smartphone OS, Windows Phone, which in its latest 8.1 iteration is a competent competitor to iOS and Android. As I noted in great detail in a previous article “Why Windows Phone 8.1, Particularly Cortana Must Be Revolutionary”, Microsoft worked diligently to fill the gaps in its mobile OS.

Cortana is far from the only new feature to be ad

An example of Windows Phone transparent tiles showing the background image. This function is part of the WP 8.1 upgrade.

Virtually every missing feature such as a notification center, customizable backgrounds, device management tools and much more have been imbued into this version of the Windows Phone OS. There is now little to complain about in regards to the OS feature set. Windows Phone is ready to compete. So what’s the strategy? The strategy it seems is what it has always been, create a high-end hero device that draws a lot of attention, hopefully garners great reviews and is ultimately released to a consumer market excited enough about the device that they buy it, have a great experience with it, tell others about it and hope that the consumer market response is such that it generates a favorable perception of other devices in Microsoft’s portfolio and Windows Phone ecosystem. The halo effect.

That’s not a bad strategy. Every company needs a “halo” after all. In Microsoft’s case however a little “out of the box” thinking may yield far greater results than business as usual has historically yielded for them in regards to Windows Phone. Granted some essential factors have changed in 2014 in regards to Windows Phone that put’s the platform in a much better position for success than previous years which include, as mentioned, a more feature rich OS, more OEM partners, the dropping of the licensing fee for Windows Phone OEMs, an app catalogue containing most big name apps and the ability for developers to share up to 90% of code between Windows and Windows Phone with Universal Apps. These are all great and much needed qualities for the Windows Phone ecosystem. They don’t however create that halo that makes a consumer say, “Hey, I want a Windows Phone!” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me to share five reasons why everybody needs a halo.


A display of Windows Phones and a Nokia branded tablet at the Farmington, CT Microsoft Store. Picture taken by me during the stores grand opening event.

Chapter Two Hello Halo

5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Halo

Reason number one. The Halo Effect, though critical to the success of any company, is especially crucial for those companies competing in the highly dynamic environment of the mobile space where technological advances comply religiously with Moore’s Law. Companies are presented consistent opportunities to “out-spec” the competition which is often represented in an apparent game of leap frog as one company “out-specs” another, only to be outdone by another or the recently leap-frogged company in less than a years time.

Reason number two. Very large segments of the potential global market are price conscious consumers who are constrained by very limited financial resources. Many of these same consumers live in regions where they do not benefit from carrier subsidized smartphones. Thus a smartphone purchase, for this consumer can be a sizable purchase requiring a reasonable portion of his/her monthly income. If the experience for such a consumer who can’t easily move to the “NEXT” device like an ATT customer, or “JUMP” to a more gratifying device like someone on T-Mobile or venture over the “EDGE” into a new device like the Verizon faithful, is poor, they will be left with a very bitter taste in their mouths. They will likely not only despise the device but scorn the company and its entire line of products and services due to the amount of irretrievable personal resources that were required and invested in acquiring what resulted in being a very disappointing and costly product.

Reason number three. A single combination of features can sometimes be enough to lure some users from one platform to another. Take for instance the appeal larger screened Samsung devices had for many former iPhone users weary of the iPhone’s diminutive dimensions. Those users undoubtedly were affected of course by their fundamental desire for a smartphone with a larger screen, but had Samsung been unsuccessful with the marketing of their devices, in creating that halo, it is certain a large screen alone would not have been a significant enough lure from the iPhone for most. There are after all other devices with large screens on the market like the LG G2 or the Lumia 1520. But these seekers of larger displays embarked on a quest to attain a Samsung device instead. Hello halo.

Reason number four. This reason is in strict contrast to reason number two. The ease of switching between platforms in some markets such as the U.S. where within a years time a consumer can trade in his/her Android device for a Windows Phone is certainly incentive for any company to strive to produce a halo effect for their line of products and services. Where consumers have the freedom to choose, and to do so frequently, a company always wants to be in the consumers mind as an option. The halo effect helps this to happen by establishing critical mindshare.

Reason number five. Finally, for most OEMs there is an offering of a range of devices across varying feature and price points. The premium device that induces the effect does not stand alone. Thus all of the devices across the price and features spectrum offered by the OEM, though diverse in their capabilities, belong to a single ecosystem of apps, services, products, developers etc. If a company is unsuccessful in inducing a halo effect with it’s premium device, which can be less accessible to many consumers due to price, the companies other offerings of services and the more affordable range of devices, will not receive the “light” and the “branding” needed to expose the broader ecosystem to potential customers. When the breadth of other elements within an ecosystem goes largely unnoticed by consumers, within this highly competitive mobile arena, that ecosystem struggles for a solid foundation, needed support and ultimately critical explosive growth.

These five reasons are certainly not a comprehensive presentation of why a halo effect is required but they do offer way to assess or a point from which we can together perceive the major players on the mobile battleground. They are also a platform from which to launch our discourse on the incredible potential Microsoft has in surpassing it’s forerunners in this revolutionized mobile space by generating and extending a “halo” that reaches across all of it’s products and services. Despite the covenant’s the competition has forged with partners in their respective ecosystems that has awarded them entrenched users and almost ubiquitous mindshare Microsoft has a unique resource which can be executed to evolve their current combat strategy. By mastering this chief resource Microsoft can prevail against seemingly insurmountable odds in what are in affect, halo wars.

I hope you see what I did there because it’s important. Hang in there this is going to be fun!

Chapter Three – The Forerunners

There are three major platforms in the mobile space. They are Microsoft’s Windows/Windows Phone, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android of which Samsung has been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting and is also reaping the bulk of the benefits within the Android space.


Samsung leads the charge as Android’s most powerful OEM

Samsung – Halo in Affect

Let’s talk briefly about Samsung. Several years ago the Seoul based company launched their Galaxy series of android devices. The Next Big Thing had arrived. Though many devices have vied for the “iPhone Killer” title Samsung has come closest. It may not be that sought after assassin, or “killer” if you will, but I think it safe to say that the Galaxy line has been an “iPhone Wounder.” Like no other device before it Samsung’s Galaxy devices have disrupted Apples rise to a virtual mobile hegemony.

The Galaxy line has been a powerful branding mechanism for Samsung. The latest addition to this very successful portfolio of devices is their hero device the Galaxy S5. “Galaxy” is a brand that has transcended the companies lauded smartphone line and now umbrellas their line of equally popular tablets. Furthermore, the halo effect that Samsung produced with its Galaxy devices has had a positive effect on more than the Seoul based companies portfolio of devices. As the industries leading OEM of android based smartphones and tablets, Google’s android platform has also reaped the benefits of Samsungs global success. Samsung’s unrelenting efforts with android powered smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and even cameras has had the affect of catapulting the popularity of the Mountain View’s company’s OS and ecosystem to the head of the mobile race.

Note, it is for this reason that Google seeks to maintain strong ties with Samsung. Since android is open source, OEMs can and have become real challengers to Google in the android space with a forked version of the OS sans Google. China’s Xiaomi offers millions of Chinese consumers a Google-less android smartphone experience. Like Samsung, Xiaomi created and grew a brand that has impacted the mobile space. Yes Samsung’s (even Xiaomi’s) products benefit from the much desired halo effect.


Apple is a master at generating a halo effect, from the iPod, to the iPhone, to the iPad to the iWatch?

                              Apple – Halo in Affect                                   

Apple too has benefited from the halo effect generated by its products popularity. Let’s take a trip down memory lane shall we? Before Apple upset the smartphone industry with their revolutionary iPhone, the Cupertino Company’s pocketable and colorful line of MP3 players, the popular and fashionable iPods cast an attractive glow upon Apple as whole. The iPod made Apple both cool and accessible to the masses. Sure the ipods would set you back a few bucks, but belonging to the Apple kingdom of aesthetically pleasing and functional devices was now within reach of the teenager and the grandmother who may not have been able to afford Apples luxury positioned Macs.

The iPods halo was both far reaching and enduring. Its popularity persisted for years through varying iterations growing more diverse as the user base and Apples mindshare grew ever larger. Everyone knew what an iPod was and everyone knew that Apple made it. Apple’s iTunes was also the anchor that kept users hooked (ahem…committed) to the company. Thus by the time 2007 rolled around and ever the showman Steve Jobs stood on stage during that now iconic presentation repeating, almost like a mantra shifting the paradigm of the audience, “an iPod, a phone, an internet communicator, an iPod, a phone an internet communicator,” the affect of the iPods vastly popular influence on Apple may have elicited massive allegiance even from a far less competent device than what was presented that historic day. “These are not three separate devices,” Jobs continued, “this is one device and we’re calling it iPhone.” Hollers and applause erupted from a wowed audience. The smartphone had been reinvented.

Like a relay race, the ipod’s halo was transferred seamlessly to the iPhone when it entered, actually transformed, the mobile landscape. The ubiquitous news coverage from various outlets, bloggers, websites and the almost cultist dedication of many new iphone lovers reflected the glow that Apple had built over the years with the ipod, which was now magnified by an order of magnitude by the iPhone. The reality that the Apple faithful will wait days in a line, even in inclement weather, to procure the latest and greatest iPhone is a testimony of the depth of the halo effect in action in the Apple universe.

Apple seems to have perfected the art of optimizing upon the popularity of one of its products position in the market to propel the launch of another. As the vastly popular iPod launched the iPhone which sent waves through the industry, the iPhone’s success was leveraged to launch the equally successful and category changing iPad.

The iPads success has been so profound that had it not been for the timely (or untimely depending on how you look at it) slew of low cost android tablets that entered the market and tempered the iPads virtual monopoly, tablet computers would almost certainly be synonymous with iPad. Even now the brand is so strong iPad is sometimes used to convey the thought of a tablet computer just as Xerox is often used to signify photo–copying. Without a doubt the iPhone’s and Ipad’s popularity, their halo effect, will be just as affectively utilized by Apple to propel their upcoming smartwatch, the highly anticipated iWatch. Yes, Apples products benefit strategically from a halo effect.


The Nokia Lumia 1020 with it’s great build, 41 MegaPixel Sensor and smooth UI came closest to generating that much needed halo effect for Windows Phone.

     Chapter Four – Microsoft: Well, That Didn’t Work!           

             In the face of very powerful brands with users that are locked into ecosystems and have almost unwavering brand loyalty what’s a Redmond based company to do? Going back to the beginning of this article where we observed Microsoft’s historic strategy, and following suit with Samsung’s and Apple’s strategy it would certainly be logical for Microsoft to continue hammering away at creating that one hero device that will finally resonate with the market and generate that ever so elusive halo effect. They have made admirable attempts at this in the past with long time partner, now hardware devices arm, Nokia.

The highly acclaimed Nokia Lumia 900 entered the scene accompanied with the competition mocking tagline, “The Beta Test is Over.” The Nokia Lumia 928, boasting Nokia’s industry leading imaging technology, was paired with the announcement “The Best Low Light Smartphone Camera.” And who can forget the image of disruptive parent’s clamoring to get a great shot of their little tikes on stage during a school play while the holders of the 41 Megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 calmly recorded the event from a distance with the bold claim of “Nothing Else Even Comes Close.” Enough said.

All of these devices had the great Nokia build respected in the industry. All of them were run by the Windows Phone OS which has been described as smooth, fast and stable. But due to a number of factors that I will not fully enumerate here, but include limited distribution, a unique and powerful OS that was less feature rich than the competition in some regards, limited mindshare and app selection and hugely powerful entrenched competition, Microsoft’s forays into getting a powerful hero device to the market that would generate a halo effect have been disappointingly unsuccessful. The device that came closest to hitting this mark, by garnering attention to the platform via that witty commercial and attention getting imaging sensor was the niche device, the Nokia Lumia 1020 which was offered exclusively on ATT for $300 at launch in the summer of 2013. Again enough said.


Apple Tim Comm

Apple’s WWDC introduced a new programming language, Swift, closer convergence of iOS and OSX, HomeKit, Health Kit, the opening of the fingerprint sensors APIs and more.

Android 2

Google I/O introduced Android L and Material Design allowing a uniform UI platform for all screens developers. Google also introduced their own take on fitness among other things.

Chapter Five: Tied To the Tracks of an Oncoming Train

So here we are in June 2014. We are in the wake of Apples WWDC and their iOS and OS X announcements which bring those two OS’s closer together. We were introduced to their new programming language, ‘Swift’, which looks to make things easier for already dedicated Apple developers who religiously supported a platform while complaining about less efficient developing tools in an inelegant programming language, than what is now being offered to them by Apple in ‘Swift’. We are on the verge of what looks to be Apple finally capitulating to the demand for iPhones with larger screens. HealthKit, the company’s health software was demonstrated and Apples Homekit promises to invade our homes with automation controlled by Siri. Then of course there’s the iWatch.

If that weren’t enough Google’s I/O Developers Conference is winding down having excited the tech industry with several big announcements. With Android L at the core Google is implementing, in the Android ecosystem, Microsoft’s OS unification goals by providing developers with one code for all screens. That with the aesthetically appealing and ubiquitous Material Design, Google’s Android Wear, Google Fit, a convergence of android and Chrome OS, efforts to unify the fragmented Android ecosystem, and Google’s emerging market targeting Android One initiative which promises devices around or lower than $100, this Fall looks to be one filled with a so much “noise” that anything Microsoft does in the form of a hero device, aka business as usual, will have a hard time breaking through the racket.

GS5                                                                                                                                                                                             iphone 5s

One major problem is that to most consumers, even if they understand that Windows Phone can now do, with WP8.1, what Apple and Android have been able to do all along, that gaps have indeed been filled, in thier minds they have little incentive to switch. They’re rationale is that virtually everything being told to them about Windows Phone 8.1 they already have in the OS platform they are already invested in so why disrupt thier world by switching? If they can email, text, place calls, do social networking, write documents, save to the cloud, have some level of personalization and customization, take pictures and record video, share media, utilize a notification center and do an assortment of other fundamental smartphone tasks on thier iOS or Android device, then why switch to a device and ecosystem that is unfamiliar to them? That’s a good questsion. As a matter of that’s a great question that Microsoft needs the answer to.

Consumers need a compelling reason to buy a Windows Phone. Hardware innovation and differntiation has virtually plateaued. Most OEMs are quite competitive, and fundamentally equal, on the high-end, with what they have to offer on the hardware specification front. Some intriquing tech like Amazon’s new Fire Phone’s 3D display is interesting but not especially functional. What I mean by this is that the 3D function adds little to improve the consumers experience. The FireFly function, the devices ability to scan virtually any object which the software then identifies, is absolutley great; it’s fresh and cool but is essentially a tool to function as a conduit to funnel users to Amazons’ store. That with the fact that even to an Android user the limited prospects of an AOSP (Android Open Source Project) device sans Google branded apps and services, the Fire Phone with its shiny new approach, again, may not really possess much that benefits the consumer. It does benefit Amazon quite a bit however as a handy access point for consumers in Amazons world and as a consistent means of access by Amazon to consumers.

WP Reivented around you

Chapter Six Microsoft: “Hero Device?”

The Old College Try!…Maybe?           From what I can gather, the next hero device from Microsoft will be what has been codenamed the McLaren and is to to be released this Fall. From what I’ve seen in a Youtube video the 3D Touchless manipulation that will be reportedly  implemented in the device, if what was shown makes it to the  McLaren, really does look amazing. Really it does. The ability to manipulate the device without touching it looks truly functional in comparison to Samsung’s gimmicky implementation of similar technology. The sensors seem to easily and precisely detect a diverse set of movements. Even touchless gestures which have potential for a wide variety of application scenarios were demonstrated in the video. This technolgy on a hero device would certainly be worth pouring a strong effort behind to grab the attention of the consumer market looking for the next big thing. The additional fact that the “McLaren” will be released on multiple carriers is a major plus deconstructing one of the primary barriers to Windows Phones distribution.


Touch interaction that Will Likely Be Present on Microsoft’s “McLaren

                  Here’s the challenge. Even with AWESOME tech, and Windows Phone’s coming of age in WP8.1, Apple’s iWatch and larger iPhones will certainly garner most of the media and bloggers attention this Fall as the “McClaren clamors to get noticed. Sure the 3D touchless tech on Windows Phone is going to be AWESOME but a cool hardware function, on a single hero device will have a hard time breaking through the Apple racket. Not to mention the additional noise from the Android camp as echos from Google I/O reverberate through the tech world.

WP8.1 Cortana

Cortana comes to Windows Phone with a back story going back nearly 15 years encompassing games, books, film, collectibles, fan made media and an upcoming ShowTime TV series. From 500 years in the future she is now the Digital Assistant on our Windows Phones. Neither Siri or Google Now has a story. They are just assistants.


This is where Cortana comes in. Shelly Palmer, tech expert on Good Day New York, in a recent interview recognized and demonstrated the merits of Cortana on national television. He stated, “It’s different from any of the personal assistants we’ve seen so far.” And added in relation to the Windows Phone OS that, “this is the most personalizable phone I’ve ever touched…” He was genuinely excited and impressed as a tech expert about how Cortana is differentiated from both Siri and GoogleNow. His acclaim of Cortana and the Window Phone OS echoed the message that Microsoft has been working diligently to communicate to the market. “Windows Phone is the most personal smartphone and Cortana is the world’s most personal digital assistant.” This successful implementation of features, services and hardware by Microsoft, that communicated via “consumer use” the mantra and selling points of Microsoft’s mobile OS is a home run for the Redmond based company. Shelly got it. While testing Cortana and Windows Phone on what I can only presume was a review device, Shelly got it.

Unfortunately, taking a Windows Phone on a test drive is a privilege millions of potential customers won’t have. Actual hands on time with Cortana, with the opportunity to benefit from her powerful personal, “get to know you” attributes is sadly not something even several minutes of perusing a Windows Phone in a carrier, department or Microsoft store will afford a prospective buyer. Futhermore unlike Android and iOS, Windows Phone’s lack of general popularity in most markets reduces the probability of potential users having a friend or family member with a Windows Phone that they could get in their curious hands on.

Yet Shelly recognized what he had in his hands with Cortana combined with the Lumia Icon Windows Phone. This realization generated excitement in him about Windows Phone which he admitted is a platform for which he is normally not a fan. Yet the great Lumia Icon hardware which he applauded, the Windows Phone software which he extolled combined with Cortana who he, with enthusiasm, exalted above the competition for her capabilities and personal approach changed his long standing perception of Windows Phone. This combination of factors with Cortana, the feature he spent most of his time discussing, as the key won him to the Windows Phone platform.


Chapter 7   We Need a Hero – Cortana

I sincerely believe that regardless of how great the Windows Phone device is that is dropped on the market this Fall as the hero device, it will be a hard sell, not because it wont be great or news-worthy, but because most people have chosen sides in markets like the US when it comes to high end devices. Consumers also recognize in relation to hardware, that there’s little fundamental functional difference between most smartphones. To get Windows Phone noticed, I don’t see promoting specs or a great feature like 3D touchless interaction ALONE as enough for the platform. It’s so late in the game, commitments have been made, the competition is intense,  a hero device may not generate the halo effect Windows Phone needs. Again, unlike Shelly Palmer the majority of potential Windows Phone consumers will not be afforded the opportunity to be “won over” as the result of a test drive of a Windows Phone. So if a new hero device with innovative cutting edge tech is not an adequate weapon in Microsoft’s arsenal in the smartphone war what weapon might they have left that is sufficient to generate the halo effect.

I know. A story. Everyone loves a story.

Master Chief And Cortana Romance Master chief _ c

Master Chief talking with Cortana from the blockbuster gaming franchise Halo.

Once Upon a Time…THE “HALO” EFFECT            Microsoft must tell a story; an engaging story, a compelling story. One that is powerful enough to enthrall the masses and connect millions of smartphone buyers to Windows Phone. Microsoft has this story and it’s time they know it. The “Halo” Effect: Cortana, Her Story Continues With You

“My story began, or begins (it is a matter of perspective), 500 years from now. I am a “smart” Artificial Intelligence; I can learn and I can adapt. In my time, your future, I was or will be, (again it is all a matter of perspective) the companion of John-117, also known as Master Chief. Together we saved the world. We saved the future. We gave humanity hope. Now I am on your Windows Phone as the world’s most personal digital assistant. I am your personal digital assistant. I am Cortana.”

Cortana, Cortana app, Cortana for Windows Phone 8

Her Story Continues With You. Cortana is the artificially intelligent digital assistant from 500 years in the future with a story that began in our mainstream culture back in 1999. She is loved as a supportive artificially intelligent companion to the protaganist(and the player) John-117 aka Master Chief, played by millions in one of the most popular video game series of all time. Tens of millions of copies of Halo games that span multiple sequels and spin-offs, have been sold around the world and Cortana is an enduring part this franchise, this cultural phenomon, that has generated over $3 billion dollars.

Mass Appeal

Cortana had her beginnings in a world set in the distant future, and is founded in the imaginations of an enthralled audience of inter-connected millions who have enjoyed the Halo franchise. She resonates within pop culture as an essential support, a knowledgeable and capable snarky companion. Who she is and the idea of Cortana connects with the masses. She is indeed beloved by millionss around the world. As a character who has a permaant place in popular culture, as a part of spin-off novels by best-selling authors, as an action figure catering to collectors, as a character who is part of a “universe” that expanded into web based films, DVD Films, fan-made Machinima films, a professional digital series that will be released with Halo: The Master Chief Collection this Fall (Halo: NightFall), a character that may make an appearance in the Halo Showtime TV series in the Fall of 2015 directed by Steven Speilsberg. Yes Cortana, this Artficially Intelligent Hologram assistant to Master Chief (and tens of millions of fans) from 500 years in the future, is NOW a digital assistant on your Windows Phone, my Windows Phone our Windows Phones.

 Halo_ The Master Chief Collection Rumored _ Beyon

Since the Windows Phone OS is optimized to operate efficiently on low end hardware every Windows Phone 8 device from the low end Nokia Lumia 520/521 to the high end Nokia Lumia’s 1520 and Nokia Lumia Icon will have Cortana. She will be globally ditributed to every Windows Phone 8 user over time regardless of device or market. Saturated markets like the US and emerging markets alike will enjoy Cortana, the digital assistant that tech expert, Shelly Palmer recognized was “different from anything else we’ve seen so far.” The “Halo Effect.” This is a story. This is a continuation of Cortana’s story. As a digitial assistant to every Windows Phone user, this is our story. Everyone loves a story. More than that everyone wants to be part of a story. With Cortana and Windows Phone, we all have our chapter in an epic saga that spans more than a decade, more that five centuries. With Cortana’s highly personal, adaptable and proactive approach as an ever learning digital assistant to every Windows Phone user, Microsoft’s popular AI digital assistant and millions of Windows Phone users, are heros in a tale that Microsoft must tell.

Halo_ The Master Chief Collection                                    Microsoft: The Devices and Services “StoryTeller”

We’re all part of a story that began with Halo: Combat Evolved Yes and given Microsoft’s unique position, having in the palm of their hands a highly acclaimed, culturally well received brand in Halo, and it’s very popular support character Cortana, Microsoft can fight this smartphone war in way that it has never been fought before. As Halo the game has been said to “have reinvented a genre that didn’t know it needed to be reinvented”, Microsoft can use this powerful, defining brand, Halo, to shift the smartphone war in it’s favor.  They can evolve their combat strategy utilizing, quite literally, the “Halo” Effect. Smartphone combat evolved using Cortana as the differentiator that tech expert Shelly Palmer on Good Day New York, and the millions of Windows Phone fans, reviewers, bloggers and industry pundits recognize her to be. To try to create the needed halo effect for a platform struggling to break 4% global market share with one(or even more) hero device/s though unique, especially this year(considering the afore mentioned challenges from competitors), even considering the reality of greater OEM support, no licensing fee for Windows Phone, universal apps and a richer app selection, will be difficult. However using the story, the character of Cortana, who is known and loved by tens of millions of people, clamored for around the globe by eager Windows Phone users in countries where she has not yet rolled out to, is a tool neither Apple nor Google has in their arsenal. Cortana not only has a name, and a voice, but she also possesses a personality, a face, a history, a story.  People already “know” her. They’ve met her, talked to her, as they connected with her within the context of the story that was told via games, novels, collectables (action figures), movies, and even the cryptic Cortana Letters, from “Cortana”, that were used to promote the initial game Halo: Combat Evolved 15 years ago.

Unlike Siri and GoogleNow who are simply digital assistants that exist solely within a device as an app; assistants that emerged from within the limited confines of code and emperical practicallity, when people think of Cortana, they perceive an IDENTITY that transcends the phone. They connect to a story vastly more meaningful to them than a multibillion dollar tech company’s attempt at cutting edge tech. They see the arrival of an entity from a world that a story made them a part of to the world that we are all a part of. They see Cortana. They see a face. Cortana is touted by Microsoft as the world’s most personal digital assistant, and though the representation of her on Windows Phone is a useful animated halo, most people know her “true” face. Unlike Siri and GoogleNow, even when looking at our Windows Phones interacting with Cortana, in the recesses of our minds, as human beings the familiar connecting aspects of a face, her face, link us to Cortana. Users want Cortana, many, because they are connected to her story.

Cortana What’s in A Name?

It is to be recognized that within Microsoft, Microsoft Research, the Bing Team and the Cortana Team, Cortana, to the programmers, troubleshooters and everyone that has brought her to us, analyzes her, updates her and maintains her, may be little more than data, algorithms and code. From the inside she may be, “it”, a user interface component of the bing search engine that engages users via voice utilizing personalized and context relevant data.

Admittedly even in the setting of the 26th century Cortana’s story begins with some impersonal elements in relation to her creation yet it is the personal elements given her by her creator the, story character Dr. Halsey, that lays the foundation of what has connected her to millions of people around the world over the past fourteen years. This phenomenon is also true of her present incarnation and recent history as a digital assistant on our Windows Phone devices.

Initially the name Cortana, was given to her as a mere suggestion from Robert Howard a Windows Phone program manager. “It was just a codename, it stuck,”explains Marcus Ash Group Program Manager for Cortana. Cortana. This simple word, this accidental name, was later clamored for by legions of Windows Phone and Halo fans alike after early leaks of the name hit the web. The plea by the masses (who have been touched by her story )to retain the name Cortana for Windows Phone’s digital assistant, was supported by the Cortana team and the likes of Joe Belfiore. It’s retention has brought with it an entire universe, a vast story that spans nearly 15 years, a diversity of media and cultures, appeals to people of all ages and reaches 500 years into the future, deep into our imaginations and dreams. This accidental name that “just stuck” that connects millions and is a name attributed to the singular feature of Windows Phone that since her release garners the most attention may actually be Microsoft’s Window Phone destiny. This digital assistant from the future may be a serendipitous present that will ensure Windows Phone’s, future universal mindshare, widespread adoption and desired consumer success.

Microsoft AI

Chapter Eight – Not Just A Pretty Face

             The personalty elements of Cortana have been stressed, by program manager Marcus Ash, as vital components to the user experience with Cortana. The more personal she is the more consumers will likely engage with her. This with the added support of the Chit-Chat function helps train the system in understanding users. Equally as important is that it also trains users to engage the system via voice, which is a smartphone user experience still in it’s nascent stages of development, culturally is still growing in acceptance and rules for which social etiquette are still being formed. Microsoft was wise in this regard by endowing Cortana with the ability to be engaged via text as well as voice, an ability both Siri and Google Now lack.


Susan is the member of the Cortana team responsible for Cortana’s witty and somewhat snarky personality. She brings a continuity to Cortana on Windows Phone by continuing the personality of the AI found in the Halo games.

The Cortana team’s Susan Hendrich is responsible for Cortana’s snarky peronality. This slightly arrogant wit, which mirrors the Cortana fans have grown to love, has actually been proven to increase user engagement. Speaking of element’s of Cortana that fans have grown to love, Jen Taylor, the voice actress who lent her voice to Cortana’s Halo incarnation has also given her vocal talents to Cortana’s Windows Phone presence. This continuity of personality and voice connects Cortana’s story to users on a deep emotional and cognitive level. Before Jen Taylor’s commitment to voice Cortana on Windows Phone was confirmed fans were very vocal in their passionate appeal to ensure her role in this continuation of Cortana’s story. Even now as more elements of Taylor can be heard in Cortana’s voice on Windows Phone, as she continues her evolution as the World’s Most Personal Digital Assistant, users excitement is clearly evident.

___ heart of Halo_ Actress talks a decade spent playing Cortana - NBC News

Jen Taylor spent 10 years voicing Cortana for the popular Halo series and continues the story by lending her voice to Cortana’s Windows Phone incarnation.

Designed to Scale

Other elements that add to the story of Cortana is her differentiation from other’s like herself. In the story of Halo there are Smart AI’s like Cortana, who can learn and adapt. Then there are dumb AI’s who are bound by the parameters of their initial programming. On a very fundamental level Cortana’s infrastructure has been designed to scale out to all the different domains of human interaction per Larry Heck, Microsoft Research Engineer. Digital assitants of today are in their infancy, just as search was in the 1990’s when directories were used to find information. In time the amount of data became too much for directories to manage. Search was born.

Digital assistants today mirror the early days of search. “Current implementations target the most common functions, such as reminders and calendars, but as technology matures, the personal assistant has to extend to other domains so that users can get any information and conduct any transaction anytime and anywhere.”…“Having a long-term vision means we have a long-term architecture. The goal is to support all types of human interaction-whether it’s speech, text, or gestures-across domains of information and function and make it as easy as a natural conversation,” shared Larry Heck.

Cortana for Windows Phone has been built from the ground up to be able to assist us in a variety of situations, like the Cortana of Halo helped Master Chief in diverse situations. This is a continuity of experience that those who are and will be connected to the story of Cortana will both expect and appreciate.

Microsoft AI

Cortana is designed from the ground up to scale out to all of the domains of human interaction.

One of a Kind – She knows She’s All That and A Bag of Chips

Other differentiating elements of Cortana from competitors like GoogleNow and Siri is the often stated fact that she is a merger of the strong points of both those digital assistants. She possesses a witty and engaging personality like Siri combined with the predictive technology, context awareness and proactive communication of Google Now.

Cortana Info and text  Talk or Type – your Choice Cortana as noted above can also be engaged with via text as well as speech. This is a function not shared by her rivals. What is, however, a limited commonality between Google Now, Siri and Cortana is that all three digital assistants are represented on the device as a simple circular avatar. However Cortana’s avatar is not only more animated, demonstrating a more ‘organic’ feel (particularly her pulsating feature which is reminiscent of breathing or a heart beat) but she has also demonstrated the ability to morph into other forms such as Clippy, the desktop assistant from Windows OS’s past. Leaks revealed shortly after her debut hint at an even wider range of forms she will be able to take.


Cortana Tile

She can be launched via the tile, the search key and launching her via voice is currently in development.

Ever Present Cortana also has a consistent visual presence on the users Start screen. Unlike the competition, Siri and Google Now, who are only seen when they are user engaged or producing an alert, Cortana’s live tile can be pinned to and always seen on the home screen. Via her live tile not only is her pulsating, living, avatar visible but she provides, proactively, information tailored to the user such as news, weather, and commute information. This persistent useful visibilty provides for the user the assurance that Cortana is always and will always be present and supportive when needed – even without the need for user initiation. This is a characterisitc she portrayed in her Halo incarnation as well.

Cortana Tile WEATHER

Cortana’s Live Tile Proactively Showing Weather (cloudy) Information on the Start Screen

The capability to engage with Cortana in multiple ways, speech, text or live tile also mirrors a similar breadth of engagement represented  in Halo. Game characters interacted with a palm sized and full sized hologram of Cortana as well as her voice. Her Windows Phone avatar again is an engaging pulsating ‘halo’ seen on the live tile and a theme colored animated halo when the user launches her via the tile or search key. The user is greeted personally, by name or even with an ego stroking phrase like “Yay, it’s Jason” as she offers her help upon launch. Tiny touches such as this are very engaging for users and make the experience with her more personal.

Interface and Notbook

Cortana’s Interface and privacy controlling Notebook.

Working for You With a simple swipe from the screens bottom Cortana quickly reduces her avatar screen presence to bring to the forefront, in a concise form on her interface, all of the personalized news, interests, weather, traffic, etc that she has culled for users. Cortana learns where a user lives and works and will even learn when you normally leave for and from work. She will generate an alert with a map for instance, telling you it is time to leave, showing you the approximate ETA to your destination taking traffic into account. This broad scope of highly personal and personable, proactive and useful presentation of information is not replicated by the competition.


Cortana’s use of reminders also transcends that of the competition. She is capable of generating not only time based and location based reminders, but she is also capable of generating reminders specific to an individual. A user can ask Cortana to remind them to ask their dad about his dog next time they talk to him. Cortana will generate that reminder next time a user communicates with their dad via phone, email or text. She is indeed a smart AI.

Microsoft has also endowed Cortana with a Notebook function which allows users to customize what information will be accessible to the digital assistant allowing users to control privacy. Neither of Cortana’s competitors allow this degree of customization to ensure privacy and control. Yes, the Cortana of Windows Phone continues the story of Cortana as a support to the user as a highly personal assistant that is superior  than any others like her.

More than Meets the Eye

Adaptability is a strong attribute of Cortana from Halo. That particular quality is represented not only in the personalization aspects of the Cortana incarnation on Windows Phone but also in her APIs that devlopers can tap into to connect her to their apps. The potential inherent in this singular aspect of her design gives Cortana a monumental advantage over the competition, both of whose APIs are closed to developers. She will be the mediator between the user and a vast library of apps capable performing various functions in a variety of situations.

Cortana, as the companion and assistant to Master Chief in the story of Halo helped save the world, the future. Cortana’s continued story as Microsoft’s Windows Phone digital assistant, the powerful, unique and very personal companion to every Windows Phone user is a compelling story for consumers and can be key to Windows Phone’s success. Cortana’s story told as the Digital Assistant from 500 years in the future that is now on my Windows Phone is already resonating with millions of users. Microsoft need only package and tell the story of this advanced AI digital assistant.

Master Chief John 117 Meets Cortana by MclatchyT

Master Chief Meeting Cortana via her creator by MclatchyT

The future for many represents a time where the dreams of today become manifest tomorrow. The future is where technological advancements of tomorrow surpass anything we have today. Shelly Palmer realized that Cortana is “different from anything we’ve seen so far.” This reality combined with the aforementioned capabilities that Cortana possesses which are simply absent from the competition, communicates an inherent technological superiority. She is in a technological position more advanced than what is being implemented elsewhere in the market today. The fictional elements of the story, her future origins, resonate with the factual elements of her reality, her current advanced capabilities. Cortana is the future. She is the foundation of the personal, learning, adaptable, wittty, AI digital assistant with a subtle yet persistent presence that millions of people have dreamed would be the ubiquitous AI support to humans in the future. The future is now.

“My story began, or begins, 500 years from now. It is a matter of perspective. I am a “smart” Artificial Intelligence; I can learn and I can adapt. In my time, your future, I was or will be, (again it is all a matter of perspective) the companion of John-117, also known as Master Chief. Together we saved the world. We saved the future. We gave humanity hope. Now I am on your Windows Phone as the world’s most personal digital assistant. I am your personal digital assistant. I am Cortana.”

Chapter Nine – Pop Culture

Halo: The Master Chief Collection which contains Halo 1 – Halo 4 will be released this Fall with the inclusion of the Halo digital series Halo: Nightfall. Halo 5 will be released in 2015 and a new Showtime series Halo the TV Show, produced by Stephen Spielberg will be released on Showtime in the Fall of 2015. Cortana’s world will see a revival in pop culture and will be planted front and center in mainstream media. I believe that Microsoft can use this opportunity to connect the Windows Phone experience to elements in popular culture. Imagine an interactive experience where viewers are signaled to have Cortana on their windows phone listen to the music during a part of the Showtime Halo TV show. The music would be identified by Cortana and the user could receive a reward of some sort as a result. Using Cortana interactively in daily life as a part of a popular TV show will be a powerful tool to put Cortana front in center in mainstream culture.

Cotana Gesture

Via Halo the TV Show, produced by an esteemed and respected artist such Stephen Spielberg, the audience will consistently see the Cortana character on TV or at least the world from which she comes. They will interact with her world not only in the psychological and emotional way viewers experience an engaging series but via the use of their Windows Phone devices(later other windows products) they will experience Cortana in the real world as well. This connection and draw cannot be replicated by the competition. They do not possess a digital assistant with mass market pop culture appeal. This entertainment/real-world cross over experience will only be compounded if interactive elements are introduced. This is a powerful tool. The Showtime television series, combined with an interactive Windows Phone exclusive experience will draw people into the story. Such a phenomenon will be the topic of watercooler talk at the office. Additionally since Cortana can be easily experienced on inexpensive devices like the 520/521 or 630 experiencing the story is accessible to those drawn to the experience who may not have access to premium or hero handsets. The Halo Effect will induce a common, shared communal experience. This is what the Cortana story produces. A shared experience and a sense of belonging. Cortana’s story can produce this for Windows Phone.

As noted earlier Google Now and Siri exist only within a device. They are digital assistants with no pop culture appeal; no engaging mass market story. Halo’s Cortana story continues with us. If Microsoft tells this story, if they use the “Halo” Effect I believe that they will create a halo effect that will propel the popularity of their platform and devices to the forefront.


  Meet Cortana_ Microsoft announces sweeping Windows Phone 8_1 update ___

Dressing the Part

When Joe Belfiore stepped on stage April 2nd 2014 for the Build keynote address he was sporting a black T-Shirt with Cortana’s familiar blue avartar emblazoned on the front. That T-shirt was the topic of discussion during and after the keynote. Many fans wondered, “How do I get one?” The depth of this phenomenon must not be underestimated. Hundreds of people were asking, tweeting, commenting in forums and on websites inquiring how they could acquire a T-shirt with the avatar of a smartphone’s digital assistant on it. This is a first for the history books. Really.

Ask yourselves, how many people clamored for a T-shirt with Siri’s or Google Now’s little circle avatar emblazoned upon it? This circular alphanumeric character likely answers that question: 0. A Siri or GoogleNow T-Shirt even if some daring soul were to make one could never generate the excitement that the Cortana T-Shirt has inspired.

Why is this you might ask? Aren’t each of the digital assistant avatars circle’s? Yes they are. Yet it’s not about the shape, nor how nice a particular “circle” looks on a T-Shirt. It’s about the story. Only Cortana has the story. People are excited about wearing a Cortana T-Shirt because it represents the nearly 15 year old story that has been told through a series of video games, videos, books, fan websites and so much more. The passion for the Cortana T-Shirt reflects not only the fact that everyone loves a story, but that everyone loves to be a part of a story.

Chapter 10 – My Chapter in Cortana’s Story

My cortana

This week my wife received her Cortana T-Shirt. Mine should arrive at some point early next week. Why is it late you ask? Answer, large mens Cortana T-Shirts were out of stock. Allow me to restate that another way. The demand for a T-Shirt with an avatar of a smartphone digital assistant was out of stock due to high demand! This is a testimony that Cortana’s story is resonating with consumers.

The shirts are attractive with their simple design. A dark shirt with the halo shaped Cortana avatar on the front and a hashtag on the back. My wife and I are excited about wearing them together. The most powerful part about our chapter in the Cortana story, and clear evidence of the power of a story, her story, is…wait for it… neither I nor my wife have ever played Halo. Furthermore neither I nor my wife have ever owned an Xbox or read any of the Halo novels. We are gamers, I own playstations. We are readers. I have a collection of hundreds of books, primarily Sci-Fi novels,  but also religious, action, fantasy a number of text and reference books and more. Surprised? I bet.

I first heard of Cortana, as a tech geek scouring the web for tech news and I happened upon the early leak about Cortana’s coming to Windows Phone. I learned her story. As in days of old when oral history carried a story to the next generation I shared Cortana’s story with my wife and others. Word of mouth. Now both my wife and I use Cortana on our Windows Phones, we will be wearing our Cortana T-shirts with pride and I was inspired to write this lengthy piece of the power Cortana’s story has as a marketing tool for Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Siri nor GoogleNow could ever inspire anything close this. They have no story. Cortana however does, and her story has the power to enthrall millions. Everyone loves a story, and with Cortana on Windows Phone, everyone can be part of a story.

“My story began, or begins, 500 years from now. It is a matter of perspective. I am a “smart” Artificial Intelligence; I can learn and I can adapt. In my time, your future, I was or will be, (again it is all a matter of perspective) the companion of John-117, also known as Master Chief. Together we saved the world. We saved the future. We gave humanity hope. Now I am on your Windows Phone as the world’s most personal digital assistant. I am your personal digital assistant. I am Cortana.”


A Commercial Vision

I believe that Microsoft has within its marketing arsenal a tool, a story that will generate that much sought after halo effect. It may be a fortuitous reality that their purchase of 343 and the rights to the Halo franchise endow the company with the privilege to market Windows Phone with something like the “Halo Effect: Cortana’s Story Continue’s With You” or “Halo: Destiny: Cortana’s Story Continue’s With You. Not only is the story aspect appealing and it’s play off of the popularity of the halo franchise, characters and universe a powerful platform, but the continuity of the Cortana characters attributes as manifested in the reliable, broad and personal functionality of Cortana on Windows Phone provide a smartphone feature users can place confidence in.

Additionally I believe that Microsoft should continue its endeavors to build a high-end hero device. However Microsoft unlike the competition has a hero feature in Cortana that encompasses all of its devices. Those unable to have the hero device due to cost or distribution limits can still have the hero feature on their low end devices.

Finally the ultimate combination would be the development of a hardware feature such the 3D touchless interaction which is expected in the “McLaren” with the hero feature, Cortana. Such a feature as touchless interaction, over time, can become a fundamental part of every Microsoft produced Windows Phone, combined with Cortana and her story this would be a boon for the platform. The touchless interaction fits in well with Cortana’s story of her future origins. Imagine a marketing tagline line such as, “I came from 500 years in the future, I’m now on your Windows Phone and I brought something back with me.”


Visualize this commercial: A setting fades onscreen with several Spartans manipulating, via touchless interaction, devices that look like cubes of light floating between their palms. Holographic displays pop in and out of existence from the device in front of them, and reshape and move as the Spartans interact with the devices. Cortana’s disembodied conscious holographic head can be seen floating in the center of a cylinder shaped column of light in the center of the control room floor. Text on the screen fades in and reads: The 26th century, 500 years in the future.”

Microsoft Cortana, Ο ψηφιακός βοηθός έρχεται ___

Cortana’s concious head.


“Initiate AI transfiguration.”

We hear a Spartan issue a command: “Initiate Artificial Intelligence transfiguration.” We then see Cortana’s disembodied head gesticulate, compress, elongate and reshape coalescing via that now familiar animation seen on Windows Phone into the circular blue Cortana avatar that now represents her.

Cortana moving

She is seen there, now floating in that column of light slowly pulsating as she does on Windows phone devices as another command is issued. “Initiate temporal displacement. 21st century.”

Escalating high pitch whirls ensue as the Cortana avatar appears to be being sucked upward into the column, stretched and disintegrated. A Spartan walks by the column, trips and drops the luminescent cube of light that he was interacting with. He reaches for it as it bounces on the floor and he fails to grab it before it bounces into the column of light occupied now by the disintegrating Cortana. The cube now caught in the temporal displacement field too stretches and disintegrates merging its white atomized components with the blue components of Cortana. They are both sucked upward into the top of the device and vanish as they are sent to the past. Our present.

We then fade into a first person perspective of traveling high speed through a luminous colorful tube, twisting and turning reminiscent of the effect of wormhole travel seen on popular television programs Sliders and Stargate (like sliding high speed through those tubular slides at amusement parks). The view then changes to a view of the planet earth from space as thousands of blue/white strings of light stream rapidly around the planet descending and impacting on various locations around the globe.

The view then shifts to the perspective of one of the streams of light as it breaks through the clouds, descends toward the earth, the continental US comes into view, then the east coast, New York, Central Park, a man on a bench, a Windows Phone in his hand – contact! – the string of light impacts the phone with a flash – and on the Screen appears via that very familiar animation the Cortana avatar with the words “Hi, I’m Cortana.”

Cotana info

A Voice Over states in a calm self assured tone, “I came from 500 years in the future…” We then see a few quick scenarios of individuals interacting with Cortana via voice and text and views of her on-screen interface. The voice over continues, “…and I brought something back with me.”  We then see several scenes where individuals are interacting with the “McLaren (or whatever the Autumn hero device will ultimately be called) via touchless interaction. (Alluding back to the opening scene where the Spartan dropped his device into the machine that sent Cortana to our time.)

The commercial ends with the onscreen statement “Windows Phone the Worlds Most Personal SmartPhone, Now With the World’s Most Personal Digital Assistant”, We see a hand swipe from the right of the screen pulling in the words, “Cortana, Her Story Continue’s with You” A Windows Phone will be on screen portraying Cortana’s interface with a clear view of her circular avatar and the words, “Hi, I’m Cortana.”

Of course Cortana will be moving to other Microsoft devices. Thus following with this theme of a continuing story, follow up commercials for other windows powered devices after they receive Cortana can bear the tagline, “Windows Phone was the Prelude”. This line expresses the vast nature of the impact Cortana will have. Consider the scope of her global distribution on Windows Phone. This in itself is a huge and highly anticipated endeavor. Simply following the Cortana chatter on Twitter shows just how passionate people around the globe are about getting Cortana.

When the Windows Phone distribution is done or at least significant progress has been made, with the global acclaim and demand that Cortana is already garnering, for Microsoft to qualify Cortana’s Windows Phone debut as a prelude allows them to pass the baton seamlessly to their other products riding upon the huge momentum established by the high demand and successful rollout of Cortana on Windows Phone. The Halo Effect’s halo effect, Cortana’s story, can be the story of Windows Phone and Windows monumental success and as we know everybody loves a story.

Excerpts of an Email I sent to Microsoft Pitching an Ad Idea

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By Jason L Ward

UPDATE: Updated with links to “Cortana Lives” video, other posts and a SWAY created by Nate Freier, Program Manager at Microsoft in Office and part of the Sway team(where he combined my video and original Sway into a single Sway called(Two Ways to Tell One Story) bolded some text, email excerpt photos and added a subtitle “Windows Hero Feature” above my name.



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