Microsoft has announced that it is shutting down its Cortana assistant on multiple platforms. The tech giant is transitioning to a more specialised, productivity-focused assistant.
It has already started implementing those changes in the Windows 10 version of the assistant it released earlier in 2020. Microsoft plans to shut down the current iOS and Android Cortana apps and end the assistant’s support for the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker.
It will also remove the original Cortana functionality from the first-generation Surface Headphones in 2021. Microsoft mentions 7th September 2020 as the date to shut down support for all third-party Cortana software.
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The transition will bundle Cortana’s productivity features as a part of the Microsoft 365 suite of software. Like in the Windows 10 version earlier in 2020, some of Cortana features are integrated into the Outlook and Teams apps.
The software giant says that new productivity-focused experiences coming to the Teams mobile app can already help manage your calendar, email, and join meetings. Examples are the Cortana Windows 10 experience, Cortana integration in Outlook mobile, and the Cortana voice assistance
The integration, unlike the original Cortana, does not offer additional functions like smart home controls and music integration. By shutting down Cortana, Microsoft perhaps is trying to better complement its existing software while competing less directly with other established assistants like Google and Amazon’s Alexa.
Harman Kardon Invoke owners will be most impacted by the change. The smart device will be no different from a Bluetooth speaker when Microsoft shuts down the assistant for the device. However, the company plans to offer a $50 gift card to owners of the device as consolation.
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