Home Business Microsoft Shuts Down Cortana's Consumer Oriented Services; Pivot Towards ‘Productivity-Focused’ Assistant

Microsoft Shuts Down Cortana’s Consumer Oriented Services; Pivot Towards ‘Productivity-Focused’ Assistant

A sneak peek into what services are being discontinued and motives behind the decision.

Cortana, which has always been recognized as an alternative to Alexa and Google Assistant, will embody productivity-focused features that might be a turning point for Microsoft. Now, the company is planning to provide users with a new AI-powered experience on its Microsoft Office 365 applications. Cortana, the Halo-inspired voice assistant is going to redefine the essence of a digital assistant, which will help users to increase productivity and focus on essential matters.

As a result, the company will end assistance for all third-party Cortana facilities on September 7. Microsoft will shut down the Cortana app on Android and iOS in selected regions in early 2021. The discontinuation decision is despite an update to the Cortana consumer app within the last 30 days. 

Microsoft also plans to end support for the Cortana integration in the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker which is going to implement in January 2021. Customers who will receive a firmware update from Harman Kardon in early 2021 will be able to use the feature on their speaker. The firmware upgrade will remove Cortana access but will allow the speaker to connect via Bluetooth to mobile devices for audio playback. Active speaker owners who used Cortana to set up their speakers will be provided with a $50 Microsoft gift card as compensation. This offer is not for people who haven’t used the speakers in 12 months.

Surface Headphones and Surface Earbuds will still have access to the Cortana business applications but will no longer support the previous version that offers consumer-oriented services. This is where Microsoft’s decision seems a bit hazy as most users prefer a dual-purpose audio option that supports both consumer and business needs. However, Microsoft, at least for now, is planning on a future for them as business devices. This may be based on an estimate that companies will purchase them in bulk for users. 

The repurposing of Cortana as a part of the Microsoft 365 suite software will eliminate certain features of the app like smart home controls and music integration. But by offering less range of features, the company is expecting to create an environment that better complements its existing software. The company is also expecting to reduce the competition with this move, as the updated Cortana and its current well-established players, Google and Amazon, won’t directly categorize into the same category.

If you observe, all the Cortana services that are being shut down are its B2C offering. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s comments in January 2019 that “Cortana needs to be that skill for anybody who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber.” So by this move, Microsoft may have little to lose but a lot to gain.  

These disruptive changes are still a few months away, but the company has already started working on a few of them on the Windows 10 version of Cortana earlier this year. 


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What is Cortana used for?

Cortana is Microsoft’s digital voice assistant that helps you save time and focus attention on what matters most.

Is Microsoft Cortana any good?

Microsoft claims Cortana has a reliable understanding of context, but it strives much more than its competitors in actually hearing what you’re saying. Quiet environments are best when using, as background noise can significantly interfere, which leads to inefficient results.

Who is better, Alexa or Cortana?

Google answers 88% of questions correctly, while Apple scored 75%, Alexa scored 72.5%, and at last, Cortana came in with 63%. However, the test was on smart speakers and not smartphones

How do I turn Cortana off in Windows 10?

1. Press Start
2. Search Edit group policy, and open it.
3. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
4. Double-click Allow Cortana to open it.
5. Click Disabled, and hit OK.

How can I use Cortana in India?

To set up Cortana follow the below given steps
1. Go to settings -> Time and Language -> Region -> set Country/Region as India.
2. Go to settings -> Time and Language -> Language -> Download ‘English (India)’
3. Set it as default.
4. If there are additional languages such as English US/UK or something, remove them
Shivani Mittalhttps://www.the-electronics.com/
Shivani Mittal pens down all the prominent business decisions and news. She is a passionate reader and on any other off day, she finds herself immersed in adventurous activities like Trekking and Rock climbing.


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