Just two weeks ago, Microsoft ramped up its recent strategy of offering its programs on non-Microsoft platforms. It launched its virtual assistant, Cortana, on smartphones using Apple's iOS and Google's Android platform.
That's a big deal for a couple of reasons. One, Microsoft has its own Windows phones, so in a way it's helping its competitors. But, two, it's also making its voice-activated virtual assistant available on far more devices than it otherwise would be: Android and iOS are used on about 96% of smartphones sold around the world.
Cortana, like Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now, is an artificially intelligent assistant. For instance, Cortana can alert you on your PC that you missed a call on your smartphone, then text the person who called to say you'll get back to them later.
Cortana can track your packages, and let you know if you're flight is running late. Cortana can do a whole lot more than that.
Except, one thing it can no longer do is be activated by your voice on Android devices. If you use Cortana, you know you activate it by saying, "Hey, Cortana."
As it turns out, it doesn't work well if you also use Google's voice-activated Google Now, which you activate by saying, "OK, Google." In fact, Cortana essentially turned off Google Now's functionality.
Which is a big problem if you're an Android user. Google Now uses Google's dominant Google Search, while Cortana uses Microsoft's less popular, and not as well-like search, Bing.
No word yet from Microsoft about when Cortana's voice-activated functionality will be back on Android devices. But, considering that Android dominates the smartphone market, with about 82% share of the worldwide smartphone marketplace, it will be back.
Microsoft says it's working on a fix. Keep reading Happening Now for updates on Cortana for Android devices.