If you recently updated Windows 11, you may have spotted the following message when trying to open the Cortana app: “Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated.”
Microsoft is finally cutting off support to Cortana, its Windows Phone-era assistant that first launched with Windows 10 back in 2014, in favor of AI features like Bing Search and Windows Copilot. Cortana was released in response to Apple’s Siri, which had been growing in popularity since its own debut. Microsoft even released a playful commercial poking fun at Siri’s more robotic voice while promoting how human-sounding Cortana was,
But thanks to this update, Siri has outlasted Microsoft’s robotic assistant. Here's the official post from Microsoft: “We are making some changes to Windows that will impact users of the Cortana app. Starting in August 2023, we will no longer support Cortana in Windows as a standalone app.” And for those asking for an assistance program, Microsoft is recommending Windows Copilot which is set to release with the Windows 11 23H2 update. The tech giant has already been testing out first-party and Bing third-party plugins for Copilot.
The app is still working on Windows 10 for now but, according to a source from Windows Latest, Microsoft plans to kill off the app on Windows 10 within a few weeks. For now, Cortana will remain with other apps like Outlook and Microsoft Teams, though it mostly likely won’t be permanent.
Should Microsoft have canned Cortana?
It’s rather ironic that Cortana, which was made as a fake AI assistant of sorts based on the iconic one that aids Master Chief in the long-running video game franchise Halo series, is getting ousted by actual AI tools. But considering how AI has skyrocketed in popularity and in growth potential, it makes sense that Microsoft would completely drop app support that hasn’t received an update in two years.
But was this the right move for Microsoft? On one hand, it feels obvious to dump tools that haven’t been supported for so long. But maybe there could have been a way to integrate Cortana with AI technology to create a more personalized AI assistant experience. Imagine having Cortana combined with Bing search or Windows Copilot, giving you your results and aiding you.
Of course, this opens up a huge can of worms in regards to using the voice actress Jen Taylor's audio likeness in ways that were never covered by her original contract with Microsoft. Ethically she would need to give her consent and be paid royalties for that purpose.
But with Microsoft officially closing the chapter on Cortana, we’ll never know what could have been.