Microsoft to cut Cortana from Android, iOS, Invoke, and more

Microsoft to phase out Cortana Skills, drop support for Harman Kardon speakers, mobile devices

These cuts come as part of Microsoft's shift of Cortana towards being a productivity-centered assistant. And early next year the company will also stop supporting its Cortana mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Microsoft is pulling the plug on the Cortana app for Android and iOS early next year for United States users.

Third-party Cortana skills. Microsoft is ending all support for third-party Cortana skills on September 7.

Microsoft also plans to end support for the Cortana integration in the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker in January 2021.

Invoke Speaker & Surface HeadphonesWe know that most of our customers primarily use the Invoke to play music because of its premium quality sound. The company has created a detailed FAQ page with more information. This will arrive via a firmware update within six months of its release; once the Invoke is updated, Cortana will no longer be accessible on the device.

As an olive branch to Invoke owners, Microsoft plans to send them $50 gift cards. "We look forward to continuing to innovate on ways Cortana can help you navigate the modern workplace so you can save time and focus on the things that matter most in your day", wrote Microsoft in the support article. To be eligible, you'll have to have used your Invoke speaker to ask something of Cortana between July 31st and before today's announcement. Though it'll be as feature-rich as the existing version, Microsoft is apparently hoping to refine Cortana to be a complement to its other products.

In addition to removing Cortana support from several devices, Microsoft is removing the previous version of Cortana from the first version of the Surface Headphones in early 2021. Once the change goes through, you'll still be able to use the digital assistant, but only through the integration that comes with Outlook Mobile. First-generation Surface Headphones owners can get a $25 gift card. You no longer need to wait for bi-annual Windows 10 updates to try out newer features in action.

Some will point to these changes as Microsoft cutting consumers off. Others will see it as a shift from a consumer-facing Cortana to a digital assistant focused on productivity tasks.

"We've spent a lot of time thinking through this transition and understand that these changes may be disruptive to some of our customers", the company said.

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