Microsoft is rethinking its Cortana helper, announcing that it will close current iOS and Android applications, end Cortana compatibility for the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker and remove the original Cortana functionality from first-generation headphones from 2021.
These changes are still a few months away, but it is another important step for Microsoft to divert the curtain from a Google Assistant or an alternative to Alexa to a more specialized and productivity-focused assistant – changes that the company has already started performing on Windows version 10. of Cortana earlier this year. (To that end, Microsoft also set a Sept. 7 date for the already announced sunset of third-party Cortana capabilities for Windows.)
Instead, Microsoft will focus on its productivity features that reuse Cortana as part of the Microsoft 365 software suite, citing revamped Windows 10 features and built-in Cortana features in Outlook applications and computers. as replacements. It’s not as complete as the original Cortana, which offered additional features like smart home controls and music integration, but by offering a less comprehensive set of features, Microsoft hopes to create a product that better complements its existing software and competes less directly. with established players like Google and Amazon.
Microsoft is also offering a consolation offer of a $ 50 gift card for Harman Kardon Invoke owners, which will have more of an effect by removing Cortana, which will effectively turn the formerly smart device into an expensive Bluetooth speaker. by the time the firmware update arrives next year. . Owners of the original Surface Headphones (who will also see their Cortana experience removed) are also offered a $ 25 gift card to make up for the missing service.