Come the end of January, it appears the Cortana app’s getting booted to the Microsoft assistant graveyard. At least poor Clippy will have some company now.
That’s according to a support article Microsoft posted to several regional markets this week, though a spokesperson later clarified to Gizmodo that only users in the following areas can expect to say goodbye to the voice assistant: Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Mexico, China, Spain, Canada, and India. Despite dropping the app in these regions, Cortana itself remains “an integral part” of the company’s business model to incorporate “conversational computing and productivity” into its products according to the spokesperson, so Microsoft doesn’t appear to be closing the coffin on it entirely.
Microsoft’s US site currently hosts no such message and the Cortana app will remain available to stateside Android and iOS users after the listed shutdown date, January 31st.
“To make your personal digital assistant as helpful as possible, we’re integrating Cortana into your Microsoft 365 productivity apps,” Microsoft’s note reads. “As part of this evolution, on January 31st, 2020, we’re ending support for the Cortana app on Android and iOS in your market.”
After that date, any reminders or lists users currently have on the Cortana app can be accessed through Microsoft’s free To Do app, which is automatically synced.
The move comes as no surprise since Microsoft has been gradually rolling back its focus on Cortana as a standalone voice assistant. In January, CEO Satya Nadella flat out said the company no longer considers Cortana a competitor to the likes of Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant despite a massive attempt to rebrand the voice assistant in 2018. This time last year also saw the departure of the head of Cortana, Javier Soltero, as Microsoft integrated the voice assistant from the company’s AI and Research department into its Experiences and Devices team as more of a digital aide role.
Part of what’s made this pivot possible is the company’s collaboration with another tech giant, Amazon. Microsoft welcomed its voice assistant Alexa onto its products beginning last year (and vice versa), in addition to opening its online and retail locations to Amazon products like the Echo and Echo Dot. The voice assistant has also been seeing a reduced role in Microsoft’s overall ecosystem. Earlier this year, the company announced it would be disabling Cortana’s help by default during certain installations of Windows 10. They later dropped it from the search bar entirely.
Man, hearing Cortana’s app is getting the ax is so sad. Alexa, go ahead: Hit it.
Update: November 16, 2019, 11:13 p.m. EST: We added in Microsoft’s response to our inquiry about which markets would be affected.