Microsoft Will Shut Down Cortana on Android and iOS in Early 2021

Joanna Estrada
August 2, 2020

Although Cortana initially arrived as a voice assistant similar to Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft has been focused on making the technology more tightly integrated with its office applications.

The company already retired Cortana's mobile versions in the UK, Canada and India back in January.

In early 2021, Microsoft will stop supporting the Cortana app for mobile (iOS and Android). Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it was killing off some key features including support for third-party Cortana skills and support for using Cortana to control music playback and smart home devices. In that way, you can continue using Cortana's limited feature set on a phone - you'll just need to install the Outlook or Teams mobile apps.

Microsoft has collaborated with Harman Kardon to convert existing Invoke speakers into Bluetooth-enabled devices via a firmware update coming in early 2021.

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. "We look forward to continuing to innovate on ways Cortana can help you navigate the modern workplace so you can save time and focus on the things that matter most in your day", wrote Microsoft in the support article.

Microsoft's plan for Invoke speakers is likely to cause the most resentment.

Some Invoke owners will also have a chance to get a $50 Microsoft gift card (you'll have to have used the Cortana voice assistant on an Invoke speaker sometime between August 1, 2019 and July 30, 2020 to qualify). In addition, Microsoft will no longer offer Cortana as a built-in voice assistant on the original Surface Headphones. "You'll also be able to listen to your emails in Outlook mobile on iOS and Android with Play My Emails".

People affected by the Surface Headphones change will receive a $25 Microsoft Store gift card. For example, the company highlights the Cortana experience on Windows 10.

Some will point to these changes as Microsoft cutting consumers off. Others will see it as a shift from a consumer-facing Cortana to a digital assistant focused on productivity tasks.

"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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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