In December, Microsoft announced in a blog post that the Cortana Skills Kit will be publicly available in February, a deadline that the developers appear to have missed. The kit is currently still in private beta and is only available to a small number of partners. Microsoft still hasn’t come up with further information on when the Skills Kit will be ready.

Virtual assistant integration

When Microsoft hinted at the integrations tool kit preview, the company also invited developers to stay updated on the development of its Artificial Intelligence product, Cortana.

The female virtual assistant, Microsoft said, is the interface where all the powers of that intelligence can become “an extension of each one of us.” Cortana is in the same league as other virtual assistants currently on the market: Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. This delayed third-party integrations kit is a vital part of its development.

Johnathan Gaw, a research manager at International Data Corporation, told Info World, “The difficulty is, with every passing day, they kind of fall behind Amazon a little bit more.” The delay in launching the integrations kit probably won’t create a major uproar. Microsoft did mention that the purpose of the Cortana Skills Kit was to help developers reach the audience of 145 million users who were already using Cortana.

The partners involved in the development of the kit are Knowmail, Capital One, travel company Expedia, and TalkLocal. Photoshop maker Adobe has just announced a few days ago its new partnership with Microsoft in the field of AI.

Cortana in Windows 10

The female virtual assistant Cortana is already available for people using Windows 10 by default.

The personal assistant can help you with basic tasks, such as setting up reminders based on time, places and people, to more advanced ones, like tracking packages, finding information online, and managing your schedules. An integration with third-party apps open up possibilities to personalize Cortana skills to use in appropriate contexts. Developers can add to the assistant’s core skill sets the bots that they have created using the Microsoft Bot Framework.