In the battle of the AI assistants, Microsoft’s Cortana has not exactly been a popular one. Despite the company dominating the desktop operating system market, most people haven’t quite felt the need to talk to their laptops as much as their phones and even though Cortana is available on both Android and iOS devices, consumers generally prefer to stick with the defaults on those operating systems or just speak to their Alexa-powered devices instead.
Microsoft is starting to rethink the strategy behind their AI assistant, as they have announced that they will be shutting down their unsuccessful Android and iOS apps, along with ending supporting for the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker and Surface Headphones next year as they look to the future and a new approach.
Microsoft will be focusing on its productivity features and will repurpose Cortana as part of the Microsoft 365 suite of software, citing the revamped Windows 10 functions and integrated Cortana features in the Outlook and Teams apps as replacements. Instead of being as fully featured as Cortana, the company wants to instead customise their productivity suite and then leave the fuller featured idea of AI assistance to its rivals. To those who are affected by the purchase of the Harman Kardon Invoke or Surface headsets, the company will be offering a $50 and $25 gift card respectively.
I personally think this decision makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. Cortana was never widely used and in focusing on their office suite, they’re playing to their strengths and simply adding a feature-set to a market they are comfortably leading in.
Last Updated: August 4, 2020