Cortana Drops Skills, Support For Smart Speakers

Cortana Retired

The end is here! For the consumer side of Cortana, that is. Microsoft has finally taken a few big steps towards killing of its digital assistant for consumer applications.

Cortana is now fully focused on the enterprise.

Redmond announced the changes in detail, confirming that it will be pulling Cortana from apps aimed at the Android and iOS mobile platforms. Both would be sunset in 2021, along with support for the digital assistant on the Harmon Kardon Invoke smart speakers.

This is a three-step change process that are seeing the consumer-focused features of Cortana being phased out due to low usage.

Microsoft explains:

“As we make this shift toward a transformational AI-powered assistant experience in Microsoft 365, we need to adjust our focus areas of innovation and development to give our customers assistance where they need it most. As a result, we are making changes to some U.S. consumer-centric features and functionalities with lower usage.”

Support for all third-party Cortana skills will be dropped on September 7, while Cortana mobile apps and its integration with the Harmon Kardon speaker will end in 2021.

The company has collaborated with the smart speaker maker to convert existing Invoke speakers to a Bluetooth enabled device via a firmware update early next year. It will be delivered automatically to devices within six months of its release.

And once installed, users will be able to listen to music, podcasts, and radio stations via Bluetooth.

Without Cortana.

To soften the blow, Microsoft is offering a $50 gift card to customers who purchased the Invoke. And since the digital assistant will also stop working on the first-generation Surface Headphones, Redmond is also offering a $25 gift card to customers that are affected by this change in the US.

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