Microsoft is killing Cortana on Android and iOS: Here's why
As Apple, Google, and Amazon continue the race to dominate the consumer-facing "smart home" category, Microsoft is backtracking and taking a very different approach. The Redmond giant has announced that it will be killing its Cortana smart assistant on Android and iOS (among other devices) as part of an effort to transform the AI into a full-fledged productivity-focused helper. Here's all about it.
Cortana going away in 2021
In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced changes coming to Cortana, noting that it will be removing certain consumer-centric features and functionalities associated with the assistant in the near future. First, the company said it will end support for all third-party Cortana skills for Windows on September 7 and then move towards shutting down the Cortana app for Android and iOS in early 2021.
Other devices that will lose the assistant
Along with removing the apps from Android and iOS devices, the first generation of Surface headphones as well as Harman Kardon Invoke speakers will also lose support for Cortana sometime next year. For the users of the speakers, Microsoft said it will be pushing an update that will turn the devices into regular Bluetooth speakers, taking Cortana's smart functions away.
Gift cards offered as consolation
As Invoke and Surface headphone users are the worst hit by this transition, Microsoft is offering the speaker owners a $50 gift card as a consolation, while $25 is being offered to Surface headphone owners.
But, why these changes?
The decision from Microsoft comes as it plans to build productivity-focused experiences using Cortana inside its own Microsoft 365 suite of apps to help save you time and focus on things that matter most. Notably, the work in this direction has already begun with a completely redesigned version of Cortana now available on Windows 10 and the service's integration within Microsoft Teams and Outlook.
'Need to adjust our focus areas of innovation,' says Microsoft
"As we make this shift toward a transformational AI-powered assistant experience in Microsoft 365, we need to adjust our focus areas of innovation and development to give our customers assistance where they need it most," Microsoft added in its post.