It is no mystery to anyone that Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant, has failed to take off to the same extent as its counterparts Siri and Google Assistant on mobile devices. In Windows 10 we have had Cortana practically since its launch and in mobile in the form of an app since December 2015.
However, it appears that Microsoft has finally decided to throw in the towel on the mobile market, and this week announced that progressively withdrawing Cortana support on Android and iOS in the official app and the Launcher, as of January 31, 2020 in some countries.
The official statement reads like this:
“To make our personal digital assistant as useful as possible, we are integrating Cortana with Microsoft 365 productivity apps. As part of this evolution, on January 31, 2020, we will end support for the Cortana app on Android and iOS in some markets. From that point on, any Cortana content created, such as reminders and lists, will no longer work in the Cortana mobile app or Microsoft’s launcher, but can still be accessed through Cortana on Windows. Plus, Cortana’s reminders, lists, and tasks are automatically synced with the Microsoft To Do app, which can be downloaded to your phone for free.
After January 31, 2020, the Cortana mobile app on your phone will no longer be supported and there will be an updated version of Microsoft Launcher with Cortana removed. “
What we can guess from this statement (since Microsoft has not yet given more information about it) is that the company is going to focus its efforts on making Cortana a voice assistant specialized in your Office 365 productivity applications, and withdraw from all the additional personal assistant services, where Siri and Google Assistant already do a very good job.
This move may be smart if Microsoft knows how to take advantage of it, in the sense that we could ask Cortana do advanced things within Office, in Microsoft mobile applications such as Outlook and Word for Android and iOS, which will surely be out of the reach of traditional assistants.