Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it was killing off some key features including support for third-party Cortana skills and support for using Cortana to control music playback and smart home devices. Harman Kardon Invoke speakers will lose support for Cortana in January 2021. And early next year the company will also stop supporting its Cortana mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Microsoft is shutting down Cortana across multiple platforms, including Apple's iOS and iPadOS, as part of a strategy shift to a more productivity-focused assistant.
Microsoft's plan for Invoke speakers is likely to cause the most resentment.More news: Uganda: Man Who Killed Rafiki, Uganda's Rare Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Jailed
To replace Cortana on mobile, Microsoft says customers will still be able to use the voice assistant over the Outlook app and in the Microsoft Teams app. Cortana will also remain available on Windows 10. According to Microsoft, "The firmware update will be delivered automatically to devices connected to wifi within six months of its release".
Microsoft is also giving $50 gift card per active Invoke to the owner of the latest USA -based Microsoft account used to set up an Invoke speaker that sent a voice request to the Cortana service after July 31, 2019, and prior to this announcement. The company has created a detailed FAQ page with more information. Cortana skills will no longer be supported as of September 7, 2020. To receive that gift card, you'll have to have sent a voice request to Cortana with the device after July 31, 2019 but prior to Microsoft's announcement today.
Microsoft will remove support for the previous version of Cortana in the first version of Surface Headphones. However, users will still be able to use the new Surface Earbuds and both Surface Headphones variants to access the built-in Cortana feature in Outlook mobile for using the Play My Emails feature and managing their inboxes. Of course, all of that is small consolation if you bought into the company's original vision for Cortana.More news: Google's Autofill Getting Last Thing It Truly Needed
The company will provide Microsoft Store gift cards to all users affected as a result of this change.
"We've spent a lot of time thinking through this transition and understand that these changes may be disruptive to some of our customers", Microsoft wrote.
As The Verge points, the changes mark another step in Cortana reinvention as a productivity-focused digital helper.More news: Aged care fears as one new Qld case confirmed