Cortana Was Almost Called ‘Bingo’ Thanks to Steve Ballmer

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Virtual assistants have become part of our lives. There’s Siri, Google, Alexa, and Cortana. But there almost wasn’t Cortana, as Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer wanted to name the assistant Bingo.

This bit of information regarding what almost was comes from a conversation between Alice Newton Rex of Big Bets and Sandeep Paruchuri (Via Windows Central), a former Microsoft Project Manager.

According to Paruchuri, “Ballmer had poor product taste.” Before leaving, he suggested a name for Microsoft’s virtual assistant. “He wanted the whole thing to be Microsoft branded. And then his parting gift was to try to name it Bingo. But we waited it out.”

Current CEO Satya Nadella was a big fan of the assistant project, but less so of former CEO Ballmer’s suggested name. With him at the helm, Microsoft stuck with the Cortana name we all know and love today.

Is Bingo a bad name? Not necessarily, but it doesn’t have the same feel as Cortana, which is based on the AI from the beloved video game franchise Halo. While Cortana isn’t the most successful virtual assistant, it’s hardly the name that’s prevented it from being successful. We can’t imagine calling it Bingo (or anything else) would make that much of a difference.

Just be thankful you never had to say “Hey Bingo” to your PC or Windows Phone.

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