The company announced Friday it will discontinue all third-party Cortana skills on September 7, and in early 2021 the company will stop supporting the Cortana app for iOS and Android devices. Harman Kardon Invoke speakers will lose support for Cortana in January 2021.
Here's where Microsoft is killing Cortana. But owners will still be able to access some Cortana skills.
Microsoft points people toward other features that Cortana has on different platforms.
Invoke Speaker & Surface HeadphonesWe know that most of our customers primarily use the Invoke to play music because of its premium quality sound. In that way, you can continue using Cortana's limited feature set on a phone - you'll just need to install the Outlook or Teams mobile apps. The firmware update will be delivered automatically to devices connected to wifi within six months of its release, and once it's installed users will still be able to listen to music, podcasts, and radio stations via Bluetooth without using Cortana.
Microsoft is also giving $50 gift card per active Invoke to the owner of the latest US -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. 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. Presumably this is to stop people from grabbing a bunch of unused Invoke devices to earn gift cards. In addition, Microsoft will no longer offer Cortana as a built-in voice assistant on the original Surface Headphones. Microsoft first announced that Cortana will be removed from its Android launcher in February. This integration can read emails and help manage your inbox.
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", the company said.
That includes changes made to Microsoft's digital assistant that repurpose it to become part of the company's broader suite of Microsoft 365 products. In either case, Microsoft seems aware that the move will cause frustration.
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