Bye Bye Cortana We Barley Knew You
Microsoft’s recent announcement to discontinue its Cortana app for Android and iOS devices, alongside its consumer-oriented Cortana skills, by the end of August 2023 marks a significant shift in the company’s strategic approach. This decision is part of a broader initiative to repurpose Cortana as an Office 365 assistant, while concurrently investing in more advanced AI technologies like Bing Chat and Microsoft 365 Copilot.
To be fair here at so artificial were never really a fanof cortana, she would normally be disabled due to her intrusive nature. We prefer a more passive assistant that we can call on demand.
Cortana’s Rise and Decline
Debuting in 2014, Cortana was Microsoft’s response to the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. Named after the popular AI character from the Halo video game series, Cortana was designed to assist users with a range of tasks, from checking the weather to controlling smart home devices. It initially resided on Windows Phone (short lived) but expanded to Windows 10, Xbox, iOS, Android, and a single smart speaker from Harman Kardon.
However, Cortana failed to gain widespread popularity among users and developers. It frequently provided outdated or irrelevant information (kind of like AI does today ^_^), and over time, it lost many of its consumer-focused features. Meanwhile, stiff competition from other voice assistants, which had larger market shares and more functionality, further marginalized Cortana.
Consequently, Microsoft initiated a phased withdrawal of Cortana from most of its platforms, beginning in 2020. The “Hey Cortana” wake word was also disabled by default on Windows 10, and the Cortana icon was removed from the taskbar.
Microsoft’s AI Vision
Microsoft has clarified that the Cortana app and skills’ discontinuation is part of its vision to transform Cortana into a personal productivity assistant deeply integrated with the Office 365 suite of products. The goal is to harness Cortana’s natural language and conversational abilities to empower users to work more efficiently and intelligently across apps such as Outlook, Teams, Edge, and more. Specific tasks include scheduling meetings, managing emails, task creation, and information retrieval. Looks like Microsoft is focusing more on AI within the workplace.
Simultaneously, Microsoft is actively developing cutting-edge AI technologies capable of delivering more intelligent and personalized user experiences. Two key innovations are central to this vision:
1. Bing Chat: This generative AI chatbot can engage in natural conversations with users and provide responses to a wide range of queries. It’s built upon ChatGPT, a potent language model developed in partnership with OpenAI. Microsoft’s plans include integrating Bing Chat into Windows 11 and other platforms to enhance user interactions.
2. Microsoft 365 Copilot: This AI-powered writing assistant helps users create high-quality content across various domains. It suggests personalized text based on user inputs, goals, and preferences, offering feedback, corrections, and enhancements to improve written work. Microsoft 365 Copilot will be accessible across Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and other applications.
The discontinuation of the Cortana app signifies the end of an era for Microsoft’s once-ambitious voice assistant. Still, it heralds the commencement of a new chapter in Microsoft’s AI vision, one that places user productivity and creativity at its core. We have already seen Microsoft team up with Open AI the leaders of the AI generative text race.
By investing in advanced and innovative AI technologies, Microsoft aims to remain at the forefront of the rapidly evolving AI space. This strategic pivot underscores Microsoft’s commitment to enhancing user experiences while staying competitive in the dynamic AI field. Let’s not forget Microsoft is teaming up with NVIDIA the ones making the GPU’s to run all of this new tech, we can’t wait to see what happens next.