Microsoft is killing Cortana

  • Microsoft says it is ending support for the standalone Cortana voice assistant app on PCs.
  • The app was a staple on Windows 10 where it came packaged with the search bar function.
  • In its place, Microsoft has highlighted a host of GPT-powered apps like Copilot and the new Bing.

After first launching the virtual assistant software for Windows Mobile in 2014, Microsoft has announced that it will be ending support for Cortana on Windows PCs.

“We are making some changes to Windows that will impact users of the Cortana app,” a Microsoft support announcement reads.

“Starting in late 2023, we will no longer support Cortana in Windows as a standalone app. However, you can still access powerful productivity features in Windows and Edge, which have increased AI capabilities.”

Cortana was introduced on Windows smartphones and on desktop PCs as an answer to Apple’s Siri and similar voice-operated assistants. Microsoft called it the “world’s first truly personal assistant.”

The app was named after the “Cortana” AI character from the Halo series of videogames. The company banked on its legacy and the popularity of the character to attract users.

Windows users could ask Cortana to schedule meetings and events on the calendar app, as well as join these meetings. It could open apps, set alarms, and get quick answers and definitions via Bing.

The voice assistant could also be used to find information about other people using the same work or school account

In 2018, 150 million people were using Cortana with Microsoft admitting that it was growing at a much slower pace than initially predicted.

The company did not make it clear if users were engaging with the app or merely clicking on the Search function, which came in-built with Cortana on Windows 10.

Windows 11’s search does not include the app, instead the first recommendation when clicking on Search, is the new Bing.

Other replacements highlighted by Microsoft include Windows 11’s Voice access feature, which lets you do many similar operations like launch apps and write text using voice.

It also highlights the recently announced Microsoft Copilot, which leverages GPT-model AI to schedule calendar meetings, emails, and chats, as well as serving as a ChatGPT-like edition software.

These are all innovations stemming from the Redmond company’s partnership with ChatGPT-creator OpenAI, which provides an AI that dwarfs the capabilities of Cortana.

So it makes sense that the company is ending PC support for the app, especially since Cortana never really got going on desktop. Instead of Cortana, Bing is the new hot ticket app moving forward. The decision also makes sense since Microsoft has ended support for Windows 10 users, urging them to make the switch to 11.

It may have been the fact that people don’t want to have to speak to their PCs when they have a smartphone at hand with technology that can do the same things as its voice assistant.

The market was saturated already when Cortana launched, with the likes of Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant cornering most of the market share.

Cortana will remain available in Outlook Mobile, Teams Mobile, Microsoft Teams Display and Microsoft Teams rooms.

[Image – Xbox Wire]


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