Do you have room in your heart for more than one smartphone voice assistant? How about just on your phone?
Microsoft announced Tuesday that it will be giving Apple's Siri and Google's, um, Google, some competition on their home turfs by building iOS and Android versions of its own Cortana assistant.
The move is in line with Microsoft's latest strategy for expanding its customer base. The company's not trying to lure consumers to its own phones, but rather trying to put new, exciting and -- dare we say? -- cool software on competing devices as well.
In some ways, that's a pure survival tactic. According to numbers released Tuesday, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is forecast to have just 3.2 percent of the world market by the end of 2015, though analysts to predict that it will grow to just over 5 percent by 2019.
So why would you want Cortana on your Galaxy or iPhone? The voice assistant is designed to work with Windows PCs as well, which is probably the way most people currently interact with Microsoft products. That means your work PC can send reminders to your iPhone or vice versa, as well as being able to do all the normal voice assistant stuff, such as telling you how high Mount Everest is or how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon.*
Since every Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 user will be eligible to upgrade their system to Windows 10 for free when it launches -- well, for a year, anyway -- that gives Cortana a huge potential audience.
The company said it will release the Cortana app for Android phones at the end of June, with the iPhone launch pegged for "later this year."
In addition to the Cortana app, Microsoft is also offering updated Xbox Music apps for Android and iPhone, which will let you play back music files and playlists stored in its OneDrive cloud storage service, for free. Those apps will be available in late June or July, as part of a beta program.
* 29,029 feet and three, respectively. If you're wondering.