Microsoft’s Cortana to be removed from iOS & Android early next year

Ruben Fields
August 2, 2020

Microsoft says that the Cortana Windows 10 experience, Cortana integration in Outlook mobile, and upcoming Cortana voice assistance in the Teams mobile app can be used to do things like manage calendar and email and join meetings. In very early 2021, Microsoft then plans to terminate the Cortana applications on iOS and Android, along with getting rid of the existing Cortana performance the first-generation Surface area Headphones feature.

Overall, this looks the most recent major (or even last) intervene Microsoft fully phasing Cortana off of mobile phones overall.

Thank you for using a Harman Kardon Invoke speaker with Cortana. Instead of competing with Google Assistant and Alexa, Microsoft said that it is positioning Cortana as a personal productivity assistant. But there's still a heavy amount of Cortana integration in Windows, so don't count it out yet.

While the Harman Kardon Invoke will no longer support Cortana, it will still work as a speaker for music.

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For the Invoke, Microsoft plans on delivering a firmware update that'll turn the product into a conventional Bluetooth speaker you can connect to a smartphone. This offer is for the latest U.S. Microsoft account owner who set up an Invoke speaker and sent a voice request to the Cortana service within the past year (since July 31, 2019, and prior to our announcement). While this is new for American users, Microsoft did a similar scrubbing of mobile Cortana in regions like Canada, Australia, and the U.K back in January 2020. Presumably this is to stop people from grabbing a bunch of unused Invoke devices to earn gift cards.

We now knew Cortana's days as a consumer-facing digital aide were numbered after Microsoft said previously this year it would eliminate the AI from its Android launcher app. The two versions of the Surface Headphones and the Surface Earbuds, however, will still be able to utilize the digital assistant through Outlook mobile.

"We've spent a lot of time thinking through this transition and understand that these changes may be disruptive to some of our customers", says the company toward the end of its announcement.

Microsoft is shutting down Cortana across multiple platforms, including Apple's iOS and iPadOS, as part of a strategy shift to a more productivity-focused assistant. In either case, Microsoft seems aware that the move will cause frustration.

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