Microsoft launched Cortana as an AI assistant and the flagship feature of Windows 10 in 2015. Now, eight years later, Microsoft is pulling the plug.
In a support document, Microsoft said that it’s ending support for the Cortana app, Cortana’s only remaining presence within Windows. Instead, Microsoft said it will encourage users to use other AI-powered features, whether it be within a standalone app or simply part of Windows or Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft did say that Cortana will still be available within Outlook Mobile and various versions of Teams, including Microsoft’s conferencing solution, Teams Rooms. Microsoft has used Cortana to provide a “daily briefing,” summarizing your Outlook emails in a glanceable synopsis. That functionality is now branded as Microsoft Viva, however.
“We know that this change may affect some of the ways you work in Windows, so we want to help you transition smoothly to the new options,” Microsoft said.
What killed Cortana? AI. Microsoft didn’t explicitly say so, but it appears that the company believes that other AI-infused services, such as Windows Copilot and the Bing Chat services within Microsoft Edge Copilot and Microsoft 365 Copilot can fill the bill.
The writing on the wall outlining Cortana’s demise was etched years ago, when Microsoft began phasing out Cortana’s presence: removing it from the Windows shell and separating it into an app, then gutting it to the point (initially) where it couldn’t do basic math. In 2020, Andrew Shuman, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of Cortana, told PCWorld that Cortana’s development was pinched between the pandemic and the lack of available on-site resources. It was then that Microsoft made the pivot from using Cortana as a personal AI app to making it simply representative of Microsoft’s productivity push.
In 2015, Cortana was something new and incredible, the flagship feature of Windows 10. Now, she’ll just be another Microsoft consumer initiative that fell by the wayside. RIP.