It’s looking like curtains for Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant. On mobile, at least.
In an announcement posted on July 31, the company said it would pull the Cortana mobile app from both iOS and Android devices in early 2021. While this is new for American users, Microsoft did a similar scrubbing of mobile Cortana in regions like Canada, Australia, and the U.K back in Jan. 2020.
As Mashable tech reporter Alex Perry explained back then, this means that, “your reminders and lists won’t work through [mobile Cortana] anymore. They’ll still be synced to the Microsoft To Do app, as a minor consolation prize. It’s also being integrated into Microsoft 365 apps.”
The latest support site announcement tries to negate these inconveniences by re-emphasizing how users can instead “manage your calendar and email, join meetings, and do so much more via our new productivity-focused experiences — like the , , and soon .”
Possibly a more immediate worry is how Microsoft also announced that, on Sept. 7, it would end all third-party Cortana skills. Third-party skills are what enable Cortana to be useful when it comes to non-Microsoft services, like being able to ask her to play music from Spotify.
Overall, this appears to be the latest big (if not final) step in Microsoft completely phasing Cortana off of mobile devices as a whole. That probably won’t come as a huge blow to many, since Cortana is up against Siri on iOS and Google Assistant on Android, with both built into their respective operating systems.
As of now, there’s no official word from Microsoft about whether this means it’s retreating from the digital assistant game entirely. But there’s still a heavy amount of Cortana integration in Windows, so don’t count it out yet.