Microsoft Inks Deal with Telefonica to Bring Cortana to TVs

European and Latin American telecommunications company Telefónica, and Microsof last week announced a joint initiative to provide voice-enabled over-the-top TV services on devices with Windows Phone OS.

Telefónica's Movistar TV Go service for Windows Phone 8.1 will enable Telefónica users to enjoy their favorite TV content, both linear and on-demand, just by speaking into their phones. The initiative will incorporate Microsoft's Cortana personal assistant technology to allow users to search for content through the natural speech interface.

Telefónica will launch the final commercial version of the Movistar TV Go app on Windows Phone 8.1 shortly. Movistar TV Go service for Windows Phone will be available first in Spain and then throughout Latin America.

Telefónica is currently beta testing the product to ensure perfect consumer interaction through Cortana natural speech. It will be the first time that Cortana for Spanish is integrated in a worldwide commercial service, positioning Telefónica as a key partner for Microsoft to develop this kind of innovative experience in a worldwide footprint.

"The availability of our television services on mobile devices increases the attractiveness and potential for enjoyment of the content we offer to our users and places Telefónica at the forefront of video products, with an offer of TV Everywhere, which is increasingly diverse," said Michael Duncan, CEO of Telefónica's global video unit, in a statement.

"We are very pleased to have achieved this milestone with Telefónica," said Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist, Microsoft Developer Experience and Evangelism, in a statement. "Rather than just performing voice-activated commands, Cortana continually learns about each user and becomes increasingly personalized, with the ultimate goal of proactively performing the right tasks at the right time. Telefónica's support is helping us to speed up this process."

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