Microsoft Is Killing Cortana for Android and IOS

Posted on November 16, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft, iOS, Android with 51 Comments

Too Little Too Late, Microsoft Voices Support for Cortana

Microsoft is announcing the death of Cortana’s mobile apps today. The company is shutting down Cortana for Android and iOS in early 2020.

The news comes shortly after the company announced some major Microsoft 365 and Cortana integrations were it’s integrating Cortana into other mobile apps like Outlook.

The death of Cortana’s Android and iOS apps will also mean some of its functionalities will be removed from the Microsoft Launcher app on Android. The company isn’t shutting down the app everywhere, though. In fact, it seems like the Cortana app will continue to exist for those in the US — for now, anyway. And as MSPU reports, the Cortana app only seems to be going away in certain countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada. It’s possible the app is shutting down in other markets, too.

Cortana’s mobile apps will officially go away on January 31st, 2020. It’s definitely not surprising to see Microsoft killing Cortana’s mobile apps, though. Lately, the apps were only really useful for controlling Cortana devices like Surface Headphones.  The move is quite interesting as Microsoft is still working on a brand-new Cortana app for Windows 10. It seems like Microsoft’s strategy for Cortana going forward is to integrate the personal assistant in useful ways on its other services instead of making it a “standalone” assistant like Google Assistant or Siri. It’s a change many Cortana fans probably won’t enjoy.

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Comments (51)

51 responses to “Microsoft Is Killing Cortana for Android and IOS”

  1. Elan Gabriel

    Cortana is dead for many years now. It was very US centric, without any mobile market and slow in development. The only thing great about it was the name, which was a surprising change from the usual naming.

    • Jeff Fodiak

      In reply to egab:

      The name was terrible. Try explaining the name to an older person. "hey cortana" doesn't really roll of the tongue either as a trigger. It would have been a real struggle for some foreign countries to pronounce it, but it never got that far.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to manicscholar:

        Reminds me of the aphorism For want of a nail, though in this case for surfeit of a syllable.

      • Elan Gabriel

        In reply to manicscholar:

        Well, it's not that "Siri" or "Alexa" makes sense either, or easy to pronounce all over the world, but I found it nice that they've tied the non gaming related product to the Xbox universe.

        • ghostrider

          In reply to egab:

          Maybe that's why Google stuck with 'hey Google'. It's already universally known and recognised. Siri and Alexa are just made up names meant to sound friendly, but ultimately, mean nothing. Cortana was just MS believing Halo was popular enough to use the virtual character in it, but again, to most, it meant nothing.

      • Rob_Wade

        In reply to manicscholar:

        It rolled off my tongue just fine. And it's much easier to STOMACH than saying "google", "siri" or "alexa".

  2. JimP

    This article appears to be incorrect. Microsoft is NOT shutting down Cortana for Android and iOS. Instead, it's only shutting these 2 apps down in the following countries:




    Great Britain





    If you live anywhere else - such as the United States - you should be safe. At least for now.

    • dontbeevil

      In reply to JimP:

      It's usual thurrot article when comes to uwp, cortana, store...

    • Daishi

      In reply to JimP:

      You realise that that is basically a list of every country other than the US where it had been available, right?

      • JimP

        In reply to Daishi:

        Well, the US is all I care about. :)

        Also, it appears that Cortana will still be supported for these countries on Windows. At least for now.

        • ghostrider

          In reply to JimP:

          Typical American response. Nothing exists outside the US, so not a problem. MS shutting is shutting down Cortana, plain and simple. Just because it will stay working in the US for now doesn't mean it's had a reprieve! It's only a matter of time.

          • JimP

            In reply to ghostrider:

            Actually, the announcement only applies to Android and iOS, not Windows itself.

          • Rob_Wade

            In reply to ghostrider:

            Fine. I'm okay being a "typical American". While I'm absolutely certain MS is going to kill off Cortana completely (because they're idiots), I don't really care what the rest of the world does. I just don't. I've traveled over quite a bit of the world. I'm not impressed and I'm not interested.

      • dontbeevil

        In reply to Daishi:

        you realize that's basically different from what the title scream, right?

        • Daishi

          In reply to dontbeevil:

          Yeah, because them killing off the apps in all but one market is clearly a positive sign for their long term prospects in that market and is in no way foreshadowing their demise there as well.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to JimP:

      You are standing on a technicality. If you ACTUALLY believe that this is not the first step in eventually removing Cortana from EVERYTHING, you have NOT been paying attention to how Microsoft functions...especially under the lame-brained Nadella.

  3. MikeGalos

    So in reality that's actually "Microsoft dropping Cortana support for two 3rd Party Operating Systems in eight countries"

    Not exactly what the headline screams nor the click-bait graphic.

  4. Dan1986ist

    So, sounds like Cortana is going to be part of Office and other apps, similar to clippy, instead of a seperate app on Android and iOS in certain countries. Wonder how that'll work in EU countries with GDPR regulations since Cortana data is tied to one's Microsoft account, and is likely up in the cloud somewhere?

    • crfonseca

      In reply to Dan1986ist:

      I don't think it'll be an issue in the EU, since Cortana doesn't actually work in most of the EU. It did have a UK version, but with Microsoft pulling it, it becomes a non-issue.

      And in any case, with the UK dead set on leaving the EU, EU Directives won't apply to them for much longer. Or so Bojo says, anyway.

  5. simont

    Not really going to miss it. The only thing I used it for was to upgrade the firmware for my Surface Headphones.

  6. Rob_Wade

    What a complete CROCK. Cortana will be LESSS helpful, LESS productive, LESS helpful by removing capabilities. Any INTELLIGENT person would recognize this. Microsoft is lying, plain and simple. I don't really give a flip about other countries. I just don't. What I DO care about is being able to do the things I've become accustomed to. Like complete hands-free use. All of which is disappearing. Because Microsoft, along with ALL the others, has NO flipping clue what they're doing. They are all going the WRONG direction. I should never HAVE to touch a device to interface with it. I should NOT have to buy MORE electronics to interface when I already have MULTIPLE devices that should be MORE than capable to do it: Xbox, phone, tablet, PC. But every single company is run by idiots who simply can't get this basic concept through their mushy little heads. Nobody gets it.

  7. chaad_losan

    The knife in the back is google assistant being natively added to xbox one this month. REALLY now?

  8. Stooks

    No big deal.

    Honestly I do not know anyone that uses ANY voice assistants with regular use. I bet most Android/iOS users use their voice assistants less than 1% of the time.

    Personally if I use Siri once a month that would be a lot. I think the last time I used Siri was to get baseball game score during the playoffs while at work.

    • Winner

      In reply to Stooks:

      That's because you have Siri and she is mostly useless.

      I use the Google Assistant all the time to schedule appointments, reminders, and alarms. I use her to dictate texts, and ask questions I could search on the web for. Amazingly she gets actual answers a high fraction of the time. It's really convenient.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to Stooks:

      I have Cortana turned 100% on with all our devices capable of using Cortana. I prefer hands-free first, touch second. It is just stupid that NOBODY has made it possible and easy for us to use an assistant all the time. STUPID. But, because NOBODY get is it right (Microsoft came the closest), I'm convinced that's why people don't use them more (with the exception of the tin-foil hat wearers, who are affraid of everything).

  9. derekaw

    The four people using Cortona should be ok.

  10. yaddamaster

    I only use Cortana to control my Invoke for Spotify. And when that shuts down I'll just use bluetooth to control the Invoke.

    I've tried the smart assistant thing including Amazon and Google. I just don't get the whole fascination.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      Because nobody does it right. Microsoft came closest with Cortana, but--as usual--they abandoned it. Apple, Google, Amazon, NONE of them know how to do this right. NONE of them.

  11. StevenLayton

    Wait, how can they kill something that is so popular and used by so many? Oh, right.

  12. Paul Tarnowski

    The earliest Windows Insider iteration(s) of Cortana were likely the only good ones. It would proactively find things for me, and made me really happy to have running. It was insightful in a way that later iterations seem to have lost.

    And since moving to Android? Haven't touched the thing on either phone or computer.

  13. techreader

    Love the graphic for this article

  14. bart

    Not having Cortana anywhere surely is a more coherent experience across the globe

  15. johnh3

    I suppose its the long term result for pulling out of the mobile market we see now.

    Yes Windows Phone/Mobile was struggling but I still think that was a business that could survive if Microsoft had continue with it.

    Even with a forked Android version as Nokia did with the Nokia X lineup just before Microsoft bought the company would have been better than nothing.

    Without mobile the company is became more and more irrelevant among normal consumers. And the latest victim is Cortana.

  16. waethorn

    None of this should be surprising to anyone.

    If you have Surface headphones outside the US, they just became regular plain old "dumb" headphones.

  17. Bats

    This is not surprising, because no one uses it. After all, why install a 3rd party assistant, when the Google Assistant is way much better and is built natively into the Android? Same goes for iOS.

    Again, no one uses it. I think Microsoft believes that there "brand" is in huge demand. WHy is that? Microsoft makes computers, right? Yet, hardly anyone buys them despite the fact that 4 out of the 5 computer manufacturers sell Windows on their computers.

    It's really hard to tell what Microsoft can do now. Just focus on their bread and butter, enterprises and office?

    • ghostrider

      In reply to Bats:

      The only relevance MS has left with the consumer is Xbox. That's it. People run Windows, but only because it's still pre-installed on most PC's they buy. Windows is just Windows, whether it's XP, 7, 8 (just about) or 10. Most people don't care about the Win10 feature upgrades, or the continuous stream of updates. They just want something that works when they turn it on, to run their legacy apps and Chrome.

      It's plain and clear that most of Microsoft's focus is on cloud and services, and dragging Enterprises into their cloud, because that's where the real money is. In 5 years time, Win10 won't look much like it does now. There may well be a consumer version still kicking around, but most of Microsoft focus will be on selling 'desktop as a service' seats to companies, probably rolled up into one subscription bundle with Office, Teams etc. Cortana is just the latest in a growing number of consumer focused services MS are shelving because no-ones interested or using them, and that list will grow.

      I still don't know whether to respect to revile SatNad. He's certainly making money for MS, and keeping the investors happy, but at what cost? Microsoft's growing irrelevance with the consumer is going to become a real problem in coming years. Young people nowadays only really know about Apple and Google, as that's what they have in their pockets, with Microsoft no where in sight, and they already do pretty much everthing they need on their phones - Windows just isn't needed for them.

      • solomonrex

        In reply to ghostrider:

        I don't know. MS Word wasn't the best WP when it was released. Xbox was in third place. Windows was just another DOS shell once upon a time. The Surface was just a failed ipad clone originally.

        MS is obviously struggling with confidence here. If they're still working on this in other apps, where is that counter-messaging? Nowhere. They're releasing a phone and an all-new console soon-ish, there are anti-trust lawsuits brewing and the 'ambient computing' field is still nascent. It's a bad look.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to Bats:

      MS used to believe that people loved the MS and Windows brand names, hence Nadella’s silly dream of people loving Windows.

      MS has since removed the Windows branding from some products and returned it to the MS brand, so I think they now realize most people who use PCs use them because they have to in the workplace, not because they want to.

      That doesn't give them much of a future except in the enterprise world. And what they’ve done for consumers seems to have caused more irritation than enjoyment. It’s been a rough decade.

    • maktaba

      In reply to Bats:

      You say,

      “After all, why install a 3rd party assistant, when the Google Assistant is way much better and is built natively into the Android? Same goes for iOS.”

      Not just assistant but in fact this is true for all other Microsoft apps as well, such as To-Do and OneNote and Outlook and Edge. Both Android and iOS have natively built reminder, notes, email, and browser apps that work much better and offer almost the same functionality than the Microsoft apps.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to Bats:

      Ignorant statement. I use Cortana constantly. Many others do. "No one" is a false statement.

  18. wright_is

    Great. I'm still waiting for the app to be made available here.

    Last time I looked, it wasn't compatible with any of the devices I've tried over the years: Google Nexus 5p, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, Huawei P20, Huawei P-Smart, Galaxy S7, S8, S9 and a few others...

    Why doesn't Microsoft ever stand behind its products and, you know, actually roll them out to users?

    On the other hand, I'm pretty much anti voice assistants these days, so no great loss. But for years I was waiting for this to appear, but it never did.

  19. dontbeevil

    Misleading title as usual, cortana is not going to be killed, but will not support some countries anymore

  20. mee123104

    The only thing I'll really miss about it is getting task notifications on my xbox and even then that was more of a novelty. It was good while it lasted, but ultimately supplanted with to-do.