Several years ago, Microsoft was working to make Cortana a worthy rival to other digital assistants like Google Assistant and Siri. Cortana never managed to gain real traction with consumers, though, and so now Microsoft is making big changes to its assistant.
Microsoft is killing off its Cortana apps for Android and iOS. It’ll first end support for all third-party Cortana skills on September 7, the company says on an official Cortana support document (via ZDNet).
In early 2021, the Cortana apps for Android and iOS will be shut down. Microsoft says consumers who have been relying on Cortana can perform similar actions in dedicated Microsoft apps, like the Outlook app’s Cortana integration as well as the Cortana support in the Teams mobile app that’s launching soon.
There are some pieces of Cortana-powered hardware that’ll be affected by this change, too. Microsoft says that it’s ending support for Cortana integration on teh Harman Kardon Invoke speaker in January 2021. An update will be released in early 2021 that’ll disable Cortana but enable owners of the Invoke to continue using the device as a Bluetooth speaker.
Invoke owners will also get a $50 Microsoft gift card to make up for losing Cortana.
Finally, Microsoft says it’s removing Cortana from its Surface Headphones in 2021, though owners of those headphones will still be able to use Cortana in the Outlook mobile app to manage their inbox.
Folks who have the first version of the Surface Headphones will be losing the ability to activate Cortana with the phrase “Hey Cortana” to make calls, play music, and perform other actions. They will still be able to activate the default digital assistant on their phone. Owners of the first version of the Surface Headphones will receive a $25 Microsoft gift card for the trouble.
Because Cortana never really caught on as a full-on competitor to Google Assistant and Siri, Microsoft is now pivoting Cortana to focus on productivity. The assistant is still built into Windows 10, complete with voice commands, and Microsoft is also embedded Cortana into its apps and services to help you complete specific tasks.
Did you ever try Cortana on Android or iOS?
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