Cortana vs. Siri: Microsoft takes on Apple’s popular assistant in latest ad (VIDEO)

29 July 2014, 4:30 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

Microsoft has released a new advertisement in which it pits its Cortana digital assistant against Apple's Siri, and guess who the winner is.

Windows Phone may not enjoy the same popularity worldwide as Android or iOS, but Microsoft has made significant efforts toward bringing its platform on a more level playing field compared to its rivals and it now believes it has an ace up its sleeve with its new Cortana virtual assistant.

Apple's Siri was the first virtual assistant to grace the market and it's still the most popular, but Google Now then rose to give it some serious competition. Microsoft is now joining the race with its very own assistant, Cortana, which comes with the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.

The new commercial from Microsoft, as expected, is not a side-by-side comparison listing all of the features of Cortana and Siri. Instead, it highlights Cortana's strongest points, while pointing out Siri's shortcomings by comparison. Areas where Cortana shines include its geo-fencing features, which allow the software to trigger alerts and reminders based on the user's physical location. For instance, if you have a reminder tied to a generic location such as a flower shop, Cortana will push an alert when you approach the location by detecting your movements on GPS.

Alternately, you can create a "person reminder" with Cortana, i.e. a reminder that's tied to a specific person rather than a time or location. For instance, you can ask it to remind you to discuss something with a particular person, and Cortana will pop up a reminder on the display when the respective contact gives you a call.

The traffic alert, meanwhile, seems to be Cortana's secret weapon, as it is what sets it apart from the competition. While Siri is more reactive, responding to requests, and Google Now is more proactive, searching through your Gmail and Google Calendar, Cortana sits somewhere in between. Microsoft's digital assistant is aware of both personal data such as your calendar and contact list, and external factors such as traffic. This way, Cortana can combine all that knowledge for a superior experience, such as telling you that due to current traffic, you need to leave in the next five minutes in order to make it to the next appointment.

In addition to pointing out Cortana's strongest points, Microsoft is also highlighting the great abilities of its new Nokia Lumia 635, one of the most affordable smartphones boasting Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box. To learn more, check out the ad below.

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