Three months ago, Microsoft announced that its Cortana digital assistant is being used by 145 million users every month across all devices. To support this momentum, the company revealed that it was opening up Cortana to new devices and developers by launching the Cortana Skills Kit and Cortana Devices SDK: both tools are currently in private preview, but the Redmond giant invited developers to register for the Cortana Skills Kit Public preview earlier this month.
For those unfamiliar, the Cortana Skills Kit will allow developers to create new Cortana skills, and consumers will be able to use them on all devices where the digital assistant is available. The kit will allow developers to create skills based on their web services, but it will also let them leverage bots created with the Microsoft Bot Framework or repurpose code from their existing Alexa skills.
Today, ZDNet reporter Mary Jo Foley revealed that Microsoft could finally be ready to launch the public preview of the Cortana Skills Kit:
During a recent Windows Developer Day webcast, Microsoft officials said the Cortana Skills Kit would go to public preview on February 27. When I asked Microsoft again if today was the day, a spokesperson sent me the following: “We are finessing the final details of the Cortana Skills Kit and it will be available soon.”
We’re now waiting for an official announcement from the company, but Microsoft will obviously have some work to do catch up to Amazon which opened its Alexa assistant to developers more than a year ago. However, the fact that Cortana is now ubiquitous could make it much more relevant to developers this year.