Microsoft has ended support for its Cortana app for iOS and Android devices today. The app was previously removed from the iOS and Android App Stores last year, though the digital assistant was only available in select markets worldwide including the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia.
In recent years, Microsoft made it clear that trying to compete with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri didn’t make sense anymore, and that Cortana’s future was to become integrated within Microsoft’s popular productivity apps such as Outlook or Microsoft Teams. Last year, Cortana lost its consumer skills and its integration with Alexa, and it also disappeared from connected appliances such as the Harman Kardon speaker.
Cortana made its debut on Windows Phone 8.1 back in 2014, three years after Apple first introduced Siri on the iPhone 4S. However, Google and Amazon went on to enjoy much more success with their own digital assistants that shipped on affordable connected devices, with an ever-increasing support for third-party services. Microsoft had no choice but to pivot with Cortana, which still exists as a dedicated app on Windows 10 PCs, but the company is now looking to integrate Cortana with its most popular services.
"We want to be better focused on being where users already are, you know, with a hundred plus million weekly active users of outlook mobile, a growing number of millions of users on teams mobile," Microsoft's Vice President of Cortana Andrew Shuman explained last year. "We think that those places are places where we can help people in situ and you don’t need to go off to an assistant to do something when you want to do it within the application that you’re already kind of using day in, day out."
Do you think Cortana has a future as a productivity assistant in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem? Sound off in the comments below.