Windows 10 has hit a milestone: 500 million devices have installed it, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Wednesday in his keynote opening the company’s Build 2017 developer conference. Another number, however, is more troubling: Just a fraction of those devices frequently use Cortana, Microsoft’s digital spokesperson for its push into artificial intelligence.
Just 141 million devices, or about 28 percent of Windows 10 users, use Cortana monthly. That stands in sharp contrast to what Microsoft calls the “intelligent cloud,” the next phase in the evolution of the “mobile first, cloud first” mantra that Nadella has talked up since he became CEO in 2014. At Build, Microsoft executives will describe how data used to be pushed from “edge” devices like phones or tablets to a cloud server, analyzed, and then sent back to the user. Now, Microsoft’s trying to build in those analysis capabilities as close to those data-generating devices as possible.