Microsoft’s Cortana AI would be called Bingo if Steve Ballmer was successful
Steve Ballmer wanted Microsoft’s AI Cortana to be called “Bingo” to be more of the Microsoft brand, according to the Big bets bulletin. That’s according to former Microsoft product manager Sandeep Paruchuri, who recounted how Microsoft’s AI assistant got his name from the writer. Alice Newton Rex as part of a deep dive into Cortana’s origins.
While we’ve gotten a pretty good idea of Microsoft’s ambitious vision for the AI assistant in the years since its leak and then launch, Paruchuri and Rex shared how Cortana was appointed, introduced to management, and clash that occurred between dreams and reality. Also included are some interesting details of how the Assistant became one of the main publicity points for the doomed Windows Phone platform.
The article is a good reminder of the fun origin story behind the Assistant being marked as “Cortana” – the name was taken from the character Halo (who is also an AI, which isn’t at all confusing. ) and was only meant to be used during development. It was actually supposed to be called Alyx, according to Paruchuri, but when the name leaked Halo fans and tech writers were so frantic that Microsoft decided to officially baptize the feature as Cortana.
While not all parts of AI history are as interesting as Ballmer’s idea of naming it Microsoft many– beloved research engine (which he created during his transfer of power to current CEO Satya Nadella), the newsletter is still an interesting read if you are interested in the history of Cortana or looking for advice on how to do it. way of not naming your product.