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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Cortana was Almost Named Bingo, Reveals Microsoft Exec

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Microsoft released its AI-powered voice assistant named Cortana back in 2014. Since then, the Redmond giant has added various features to the voice assistant, named after the synthetic intelligence character from the Halo universe, to bring it on par with other industry-leading assistants like Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. However, did you know that Microsoft almost gave a ridiculously funny name to the voice assistant before its official release?

Bing + o = Bingo! Get It?

In a recent interview with Big Bets, Microsoft’s Product Manager Sandeep Paruchuri revealed that the former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, wanted to release the voice assistant with the name, wait for it, Bingo!

According to Paruchuri, Ballmer wanted a unified naming scheme for Microsoft’s products and services, and he pitched the name Bingo to make it sound similar to the name of Microsoft’s search engine Bing. However, when Ballmer was replaced with Satya Nadella back in 2014, the name was, thankfully, scrapped.

“Ballmer had poor product taste. His parting gift was to try to name it Bingo. But we waited it out,” said Paruchuri during the interview.

Now, coming to the name Cortana, it too was not the initial name of Microsoft’s voice assistant. The company aimed to release the assistant as Alyx. However, when the internal name for the voice assistant leaked to the public, Microsoft decided to ditch Alyx and keep the name Cortana permanently.

While Cortana is currently available on Windows, Microsoft ended support for the voice assistant on Android and iOS earlier in 2021. Plus, with the release of Windows 11, Microsoft also eliminated Cortana from the first-boot experience, as detailed on its list of features removed from Windows. And if that is not enough, you can always uninstall Cortana from Windows 11 to speed up the search process and minimize the constant RAM usage on the platform.

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