Microsoft Corp's 6-day-old artificial intelligence chatting robot was blocked on popular instant messaging platform WeChat for a second consecutive day on Monday amid a battle over data security concerns. [Photo / IC]
Microsoft Corp's 6-day-old artificial intelligence chatting robot was blocked on popular instant messaging platform WeChat for a second consecutive day on Monday amid a battle over data security concerns.
The suspension of the Siri-like service, named Xiaobing, was another hurdle in the United States-based company's attempt to popularize its Web search engine among more than 500 million Chinese mobile Internet users.
"While we were in talks with WeChat, all the Xiaobing accounts were shut down without prior notice," said an e-mailed statement to China Daily from Microsoft's Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, which developed Xiaobing.
Microsoft engaged in a bit of hyperbole, calling Xiaobing an "innocent girl" and terming WeChat's move a "brutal murder".
Microsoft is reaching out to other social networking platforms to get Xiaobing "back to life" soon, the company said.
Tencent Holdings Ltd, owner of WeChat, fired back. It accused Xiaobing of violating a number of user policies such as prompting users to include Xiaobing in group chats and creating a large number of spam accounts.
Microsoft denied the allegations, saying Xiaobing is just an entertainment tool and that customer information temporarily stored on company servers is safe.
During the launch of Xiaobing on May 29, Microsoft said it had reached an exclusive partnership with WeChat promoting the AI service. No further information about the agreement was disclosed.
Tencent clearly does not agree there's any deal.
"Xiaobing was solely developed by Microsoft, and Tencent has nothing to do with it," the Shenzhen-based company said.
The short-lived Xiaobing was dubbed as the "strongest social assistant in history" by Microsoft.
The service has collected roughly 15 million snippets of real-life online dialogue in Chinese from blogs and forums in order to understand context and semantics.
The developers admitted Xiaobing can sometimes be too loquacious and cynical because all "her" language skills were acquired online where informal use of words and explicit expressions about sex are common.
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