Normally April 1 is a day for jokes and pranks, but this year it also marks a funeral of sorts: the death of Cortana on mobile devices.
Following Microsoft’s decision to shut down Cortana on smart speakers, including the Harman Kardon Invoke earlier this year, Microsoft is now pulling support for the Cortana app on Android and iOS devices.
As of yesterday, March 31, Microsoft will no longer support the Cortana app, which means things like reminders and lists in the Cortana app will no longer function, though Microsoft said those features can still be accessed using Cortana on a Windows PC. For anyone who relied heavily on Cortana to keep track of lists and tasks, those items are also automatically synced with Microsoft’s To Do app, so you’ll still have a way to manage them on a mobile device.
While Microsoft is pulling support for Cortana across a range of devices, the company isn’t killing off Cortana altogether. Instead, Microsoft seems to be transitioning away from it use as a general purpose digital assistant and turning Cortana into a more focused productivity tool, though we’ve yet to see what that really looks like.
Microsoft said it’s going to remove support for the current version of Cortana on the original Surface Headphones later this year and replace it with a new version of Cortana that can be accessed through Outlook, so you can still use voice commands to ask Cortana to check your calendar or your emails using the Play My Emails feature. This new productivity-focused version of Cortana will be available on first-gen Surface Headphones, along with the second-gen Surface Headphones and the Surface Earbuds.
Sadly, for an AI assistant that was once envisioned as a rival to Siri and the Google Assistant with dreams of powering speakers, smart displays, and other devices, it seems Cortana just couldn’t compete with Apple or Google’s assistants and is now pivoting to a second life as an assistant designed to better support Microsoft’s business and enterprise offerings. Perhaps that’s a promotion. Personally, I’m just hoping that Cortana doesn’t eventually turn into the second coming of Clippy.