In 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was praising voice assistants, even going so far as to say, "Bots are the new apps." That prediction didn't come true and in 2021, Microsoft removed the Cortana mobile app from circulation.
Now he was saying that Voice Activated Assistants were "all dumb as a rock." He added, "Whether it’s Cortana or Alexa or Google Assistant or Siri, all these just don’t work. We had a product that was supposed to be the new front-end to a lot of [information] that didn’t work.”
As such, Microsoft is now switching its strategy towards generative AI programs like Bing Chat in the hopes it will work the way Cortana did not.
Another problem was that there was no money to be made developing those kinds of voice assistants, and they didn't work as well as advertised. An Amazon spokesperson told FT that only of its customers use the voice assistant to purchase items. However, earlier this year, Amazon laid off 18,000 employees, and the Alexa team was reportedly hit harder than the rest.
Independent tech analyst Benedict Evans said that Alexa was just viewed as a “glorified clock radio” and while Amazon said it was fully committed to Alexa and “as optimistic as ever”. Alexa has done better than the rest Research group IDC estimates that more than half of Alexa owners interact with the device at least once per day, a better hit rate than Apple Siri and Google Assistant.