Microsoft Kills Cortana on Mobile

Posted on March 31, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home, Windows 10 with 41 Comments

Too Little Too Late, Microsoft Voices Support for Cortana

Following through on its July 2020 announcement, Microsoft has ended support for the Cortana app on Android and iPhone.

“As we announced in July, we will soon be ending support for the Cortana app on Android and iOS, as Cortana continues its evolution as a productivity assistant,” a Microsoft support document notes. “After March 31, 2021, the Cortana mobile app on your phone will no longer be supported.”

Starting today, any Cortana content you created—including reminders and lists—will no longer function in the Cortana mobile app, though Microsoft says they can still be accessed through Cortana in Windows. Furthermore, Cortana reminders, lists, and tasks are also synced to the Microsoft To Do app, which is still available on mobile.

Microsoft revealed that it would be killing Cortana on mobile last summer, noting that it was shifting the personal digital assistant “toward a transformational AI-powered assistant experience in Microsoft 365,” and that, as a result, it needed to make “changes to some U.S. consumer-centric features and functionalities with lower usage.”

The death of Cortana on mobile follows its removal from the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker earlier this month, which was also first announced last July.

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Comments (48)

48 responses to “Microsoft Kills Cortana on Mobile”

  1. Avatar

    sherlockholmes

    And now on Windows 10 too please.

  2. Avatar

    jgraebner

    In reply to SvenJ:

    Apple kind of lost that market to Sonos, which exceeded Apple's market share in smart speakers last year. Admittedly, they have 4.7% to Apple's 2.8%, so they both are largely afterthoughts compared to Amazon and Google. Sonos likely benefited from a broader product line (the soundbars probably helped a lot) and that their speakers support both Alexa and Google Assistant, which have both largely eclipsed Siri at this point.

  3. Avatar

    vernonlvincent

    Damn.


    I remember Cortana on Windows Phone 8 - it was leaps ahead (in my opinion) of the others. It had a driving mode that would read texts to you, and it had really good voice recognition. I used Cortana a lot on my WP8 and WP10 phone.


    Cortana's demise was determined when Microsoft shut down active development on Windows Phone. Maybe they could have found good use cases for it on the PC, but I don't think they tried hard enough to make it work.

    • Avatar

      eric_rasmussen

      In reply to vernonlvincent:

      Microsoft never tries hard at anything it does for consumers anymore. The company is great at releasing a new product with some neat features and a clear path for improvement or expansion, and then... nothing. They're absolutely terrible at finishing the job; rather than choose to support it they instead let it die of neglect and release something else new.

  4. Avatar

    darkgrayknight

    Without Windows Phone, Cortana has lost the better features it did have. Some of these are going to be in the Microsoft 365 version, but not for any normal consumers (that I can see). There are some features that I wish Microsoft would build for Android/Windows/the Web:


    People Hub app of Windows Phone--Make this a Contacts app that will connect with Skype, Teams, Facebook Messenger, SMS, other IMs, etc. Being able to merge contacts across accounts into easy to edit/add/remove/update was fantastic.


    Cortana, the digital Assistant--The part that is missing was being able to take a text message, IM, email, etc. and create a Meeting in my calendar based on the information in the text.


    Maps--Bing maps has a great feature (or the Maps app in Windows 10) with setting multiple stops along the way and you can plan out a full trip. Unfortunately, these features do not show up in the mobile version of bing and I don't see any way to translate the stops into any other mapping program.



  5. Avatar

    garrygbain

    I don't use Cortana any more :( it is a shame, when it was on Windows Mobile it was the best out there and I used it everyday especially on holidays, better than a Satnav but with the loss of Windows mobile this was bound to happen. I expect they will kill it all together as there's no real need to use it. Bring back a Windows phone OS as the integration between the devices more seamless and the experience better with Cortana on each device.


  6. Avatar

    steam960

    Trying to understand that move; Cortana was superior feature-rich technology compared to Alexia, and Invoke was awesome with Harman/Kardon sound. Why do I need it in Teams?

  7. Avatar

    samp

    Philosophers will wax immortel whether its possible to kill something that was dead long before

  8. Avatar

    dan1986ist

    So, how soon does the Cortana app get pulled from the mobile app stores since it's no longer being supported after today?

  9. Avatar

    bleeman

    Now if they would just put it out of its misery and kill the brain dead mess they've left behind on Windows and in Office. A far cry from the original service that was first supplied on Windows Phone. Now Microsoft can take all those resources and focus on the really important stuff like more #(*)#($*&%& "pretty" icons.

  10. Avatar

    nbplopes

    In reply to MutualCore:


    What?


    Apple did not fail with the HomePod. That’s the wrong conclusion. It discontinued an old version of a product within a line of audio products. Beats, AirPods, HomePod and partly CarPlay lines.


    Apple audio user interface line is strong and healthy deployed in plenty of devices, some not even touched yet by Alexa in meaningful ways.


    Don’t understand some people that feel the need to desperately link Cortana failures on devices and beyond to Apple discontinuing the HomePod. A bit like “look guys Apple did not managed it either”. That is clearly a misguided thought. Why not link it to the discontinuation of Intel Macs? Products get superseded by others in the same line all the time for one reason or another.


    The fact is, that a good line of good products does not die., rather get superseded. Others do die like Cortana based audio devices. That is the difference!


    EDIT: By the way, Apple fortunately does not care as much for market share as MS. If that was the case Apple TV with its 3% would long gone. Only companies with little tech vision make market share the sole purpose of their tech products. This usually leads to slow Frankenstein kind of products as to grab the market share, designers tend to put everything users think of in it as fast as possible and the lowest price possible.


    Discoed will be “Franksteined” into Teams and vice versa. Market share is king here.


    Sometimes I wish though that Apple cates about just a bit more for market share and relax it’s margins a bit.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      The HomePod did fail. Here are a few select articles about it. Why did Apple’s original HomePod fail? Let’s count the reasons https://www.techhive.com/article/3611402/5-reasons-the-original-apple-homepod-failed.html Apple's Homepod Failure Is a Reflection of Its Bigger Problem https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/04/11/apples-homepod-failure-is-a-reflection-of-its-bigg.aspx HomePod FAILED for THIS Reason... https://www.reddit.com/r/HomePod/comments/m6ogw5/homepod_failed_for_this_reason/ No one is linking, desperately or otherwise, Cortana's failure to HomePod's. Beyond the fact that both products were rejected by consumers, I guess. >Apple fortunately does not care as much for market share as MS Whatever that means.
      • Avatar

        nbplopes

        In reply to paul-thurrott:


        Hi. My opinion diverges from those articles. Through their narrative we can conclude both clearly expect Apple to be a market leader in every product line. The mentality is either they lead with the kind of values Apple is accustomed to or its a failure. I digress from such point of view. As I’ve said the Apple TV is no market leader and look at Apple investments in that space.


        No, Apple did not discontinue it due to the lack of market share, but probably due to current manufacturing constraints and current company focus. The proof is that they just released “ATMOS” support ..., the current discontinuation it does not add up.


        Apple decided to take this manufacturing opportunity and follow a different approach to home automation than they thought initially. I believe that they now correctly think that key to home automation is to have voice UI units everywhere in the house. The HomePod Mini satisfies this in ways more accessible than the HomePod, in particular financially. Were people would buy one HomePod, now by 4 or 5 minis and spread them across the house. Within this new approach, the HomePod was superseded by the HomePod Mini.


        When comparing with the Amazon, Google and Sonos devices its true that the HomePod had some shortcomings from a functional perspective at least from a geek point of view ... thinking about Alexa Skills. The same can be found in the Mini, that has not changed. I’m thinking about Alexa skills for instance.


        But it also has some advantages.


        I like Sonos. I even equated buying their new 5.1 setup, wireless rear speakers are very convenient. But Sonos speakers are fundamentally either Alexa or Google shops with better audio.


        With this comes the advantage of the HomePod line. Its for people that don’t want an Amazon shop potentially listening to me, my wife and kids and present me and them with Ads when I get to my computer or smartphone. Don’t want their servers to know when I get in or out of my house and what time.


        The same for Google.


        You see, from the business stand point of these companies what’s the motivation? In particular Amazon to the point of selling some product close if not bellow manufacturing costs? The motivation is to know about you and your kids to than lead your family to buy them more stuff, stuff that you don’t even need. In other words for all intents and purposes .... SURVEILLANCE.


        Sonos just adds cost on top of this for better audio. I personally don’t want to build my home and personal automation on top of these premisses ... for the same reason I do not on top of Facebook devices. I trade the plenty of unused automation opportunities for more privacy while having the confidence that safer automation opportunities will come as privacy and security tech matures.


        I personally believe that HomePod will be replaced by a Home Pod 2. But Apple needs to bring third party voice apps to the HomePod. The same approach they did with the Apple Watch, Apple TV ... etc. Once they figure how to do that as simple as they do with GUIs, a new version of the HomePod will come ... the Minis will work like satellites of these.


        Finally. Cortana is not a speaker, but a digital assistant. Cortana was failure, Siri is not. At least for now. Harmon Kardon, just made a bad bet on a digital assistant with Invoke. They have other speakers too, with Google Voice and Alexa digital assistants. Harmon Kardon are Sonos main competitors, not the HomePod.


        Cortana digital assistant died for entirely different reasons. Simply put, “no one” wanted to put it in speakers, much less Groove, but a few. Windows Phone is dead, Groove is dead ... so on and so forth. It was a chain reaction, that was what killed Cortana. So users were left with Office 365 on a speaker, was this the future of voice interfaces or home automation and audio? Of course not!

  11. Avatar

    rlbumpus

    Before they pulled it from my Harmon Kardon, I was able to link it to Alexa. It still works as a nice quality Amazon device. I thought I might lose that functionality but it still responds.

  12. Avatar

    sandeepm

    Oh, I was not aware it still existed. I erased it from my life once they killed the GLAS Thermostat and Windows Phone. Never going to trust them with any consumer directed offering ever again. I have wasted thousands on them and even my Surface Book battery is bloated and the display is popping out.


    I have Echo in every room and Amazon is getting there, and I feel they can be trusted a lot more and each Flex costs only 15 bucks and they even have common sense.

  13. Avatar

    rlbumpus

    I did it about a year ago and honestly can't remember. Here is a link to some approaches. I don't know if they still work with the Cortana app unsupported.


    How do I connect Cortana to Alexa? - Bing

  14. Avatar

    Martin Sjöholm

    Cortana never ever was. It's an unknown entity outside the US.


    All those wonderful things Microsoft have done and none of them survived. It's such a pity. With all the bells an whistles of the Apple Watch, I can still miss the Band sometimes. It was so simple, and yet so powerful. The UV sensor, still missing from the Apple Watch, and the barometer while the Watch had none. Just beautiful.

  15. Avatar

    t-b.c

    In reply to SvenJ: I bought a couple Echo Studio speakers and sub for my condo's home theater setup. They have Alexa and Dolby Atmos. So yes, some people do buy an echo to enhance their entertainment system.


  16. Avatar

    glenn8878

    "as Cortana continues its evolution as a productivity assistant" Is it or not?


    "any Cortana content you created—including reminders and lists—will no longer function" That's precisely what a productivity assistant is supposed to do. So it's evolution is bunk.

  17. Avatar

    hal9000

    Love that image Paul! It makes me feel less sad about the whole Cortana thing :)

  18. Avatar

    donaldhall3

    Alternate headline: “Nation shocked to learn Cortana was still a thing”

  19. Avatar

    red.radar

    So has Cortona completed its transition to a Clippy 2.0 roll?

  20. Avatar

    navarac

    Another Microsoft false start that will probably not be missed. What will be next?

  21. Avatar

    wright_is

    Farewell Cortana, we never knew you...

    Just once, I would like Microsoft to actually release a product, before they kill it...

  22. Avatar

    toukale

    In reply to MutualCore:

    Actually the HomePod did not failed, the expensive HomePod did not sell well whereas the cheaper one does. That's what it should have been all along, just about everyone said as much when they launched that expensive unit (made no sense).

  23. Avatar

    nbplopes

    Hands free computing devices such as speakers are the ones that benefit the most from voice user interfaces. So they kill it there and maintain in on Windows 10. They could as well move it to the minimum if any on Windows 10 desktops and laptops, say for assisted computing. Are they still hoping for a future in putting Windows 10 on door lockers too? I guess the edge starts and stops on laptops and desktops, no?

  24. Avatar

    SvenJ

    Wasn't on my MS Duo, so no sweat.

  25. Avatar

    winner

    You have your Windows Phone, your Invoke, your Band, and your Zune. What could possibly go wrong?

  26. Avatar

    vladimir

    I guess both folks who were using it are very upset

  27. Avatar

    jgraebner

    Is it possible to kill something that was already dead?

  28. Avatar

    jgraebner

    In reply to MutualCore:

    It's more of a duopoly with Amazon having a little over 50% of the market and Google around 30%. The other 20% are split among Apple, Sonos, and "other".

  29. Avatar

    charleswallace

    I just want to say how much I enjoy the image for this article. I don't know who did that, but well done!

  30. Avatar

    crunchyfrog

    I remember the excitement when we were all waiting to find out what Microsoft was going to name its new digital assistant. Now we all can't wait for it to go away.

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