Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana was almost called Bingo. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wanted to call the voice assistant Bingo, but his successor Satya Nadella put a stop to this and eventually the name Cortana was chosen.
In an interview in the Big Bets newsletter, Sandeep Paruchuri talks about his time at Microsoft. He led the product team at Microsoft and tells an anecdote in the newsletter about how voice assistant Cortana was introduced. While leaving Microsoft, Ballmer was still trying to make his mark on the voice assistant before release and came up with the name Bingo.
Sandeep says the new CEO, Satya Nadella, “happy” had a different take on the name for the voice assistant. He got the name Bingo off the table. The working title of the project was already Cortana and eventually this also became the name of the voice assistant. Cortana was released first for Windows Phone 8.1. The smart assistant is now also part of the Windows operating system.
The name Cortana comes from the Halo series. In the games, she helps the main character Master Chief. Voice actor Jen Taylor provided the voice of the virtual character in the game and also provided the voice acting for the US version of the voice assistant.
Bingo Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1