Cortana was almost named Alyx
At the same time, Windows Phone fans felt put out that the company was already talking about letting its two biggest OS rivals use Cortana. The very next day, Ash quickly backpedaled, saying that Microsoft's focus with Cortana is still Windows Phone.
On Monday, Ash took advantage of his new found celebrity by passing along a little tidbit of information. Before being named Cortana, Microsoft had a short list of possible names for its virtual personal assistant. One of the names on the list was Alyx Vance. The latter is a character from the game, Half Life 2. But after scanning social media, and seeing how people warmly greeted leaks giving out Cortana as the name of Windows Phone 8.1's virtual assistant, Microsoft decided to go with the Halo character.
source: @marcusash via WinBeta