Report: Microsoft is creating a cross-Windows virtual assistant called Cortana

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Fans of the Xbox first-person shooter series Halo will immediately recognize the name Cortana. She’s the anthropomorphized AI that assists the player throughout the game. But Microsoft, which owns the Halo franchise, has plans for Cortana beyond the games. According a ZDNet report, Cortana will become a ‘real-life’ speech-enabled virtual assistant that crosses the Windows platforms.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported that Cortana will be a virtual assistant in the vein of Apple’s(s aapl) Siri and Google(s goog) Now, except it won’t be limited to smartphones. According to the report, Cortana will be core to Microsoft’s plans to makeover the “shell” encompassing all of the Windows operating systems, from the PC to the smartphone to Xbox One.

In a memo in July, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at such a cross-platform UI, describing a forthcoming interface that would be “deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence…

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