Microsoft is pulling the plug on its virtual assistant Cortana for Android and iOS. The company said it will stop supporting the Cortana app for mobile in early 2021. Microsoft is also gradually phasing out support for the voice assistant on third-party devices.
Microsoft attributes the shift in approach to a “transformational AI-powered assistant experience in Microsoft 365.”
“…because you can now manage your calendar and email, join meetings, and do so much more via our new productivity-focused experiences — like the Cortana Windows 10 experience, Cortana integration in Outlook mobile, and soon Cortana voice assistance in the Teams mobile app,” it added.
Microsoft further said that it is ending support for the Cortana in the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker in January 2021. To help users easily transition to a new setup, Microsoft has devised a new “Bluetooth-enabled device transition plan.”
The announcement comes as part of Microsoft’s new focus on transitioning Cortana into a productivity-based application. The approach is very different from Google and Apple which continue to focus on end-users with Assistant and Siri respectively. Amazon has also gained an edge over the competition with a wide range of Echo-powered in-house and third-party speakers running Alexa.
Earlier this year Microsoft stopped offering the standalone Cortana app in select markets such as India, the UK, China, Spain, and Canada among others.