About 8 months ago, Microsoft announced that Javier Soltero, a Corporate Vice President who came to Redmond with the acquisition of his email company Acompli, would be heading up Cortana in a bid to make the digital assistant more relevant in the aftermath of Amazon’s Alexa. Then, in a move that put Cortana under the wing of Office, Rajesh Jha took over those duties, and now Soltero is leaving the company, according to a report from All About Microsoft’s Mary Jo Foley.
What that means to the future of Cortana, which is apparently being thought of as more of an “assistance aide,” and offering a way in to Office 365 for other assistants like Alexa, seems to still be up for grabs, and Foley is hearing that Cortana may be ultimately merged into Microsoft’s Search engineering team. Soltero, meanwhile, will go back to pursuing entrepreneurial interests after he leaves the company at the end of the year.
Foley is also hearing that CVP Brian Macdonald, who now heads Microsoft Teams, will soon run a combined Skype/Teams organization. Skype for Business is in the process of being folded into Teams, so having one organization for all future Skype endeavors may make sense. One more move apparently involves Lili Cheng, CVP of AI + Research, who will have her bot/bot framework group moved under Jha, consolidating Office and bot integrations.