The next VP to leave Microsoft is the current head of Cortana, Javier Soltero, according to multiple reports. The departure is part of an ongoing internal shakeup at Microsoft that has seen execs including 20-year vet Terry Myerson leave the company.
Soltero joined Microsoft at the end of 2014 when the company bought out Acompli, the mobile email startup he co-founded. From there, he transitioned to become the head of Outlook Mobile and eventually took charge of the entire Outlook division. Later, Soltero joined the Office team before being appointed to head up Cortana in March 2018.
However, with Microsoft in the midst of transitioning Cortana from being a traditional digital assistant managed by Microsoft’s AI and Research team into something more akin to a digital aide run by Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices team, it seems Soltero’s services were no longer needed.
According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, who first reported the departure, Soltero will be going “back to doing entrepreneurial activities” and will hand off his duties before he leaves sometime later this year. Now, the big question is: What happens to Cortana going forward?
Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, Cortana never really caught on like Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant, even though Cortana is built into Windows 10 and Microsoft has worked with Amazon to collaborate on new skills for both Cortana and Alexa. Instead of competing directly with the big three assistants, Microsoft seems focused on making Cortana a more tightly-integrated productivity tool, now that it’s shifting the digital assistant under the purview of the team that also oversees Microsoft Office and Windows. [ZDNet, CNBC]