Microsoft's removed the “Hey Cortana” voice activation feature from its Cortana Android app.
Cortana is Microsoft's digital assistant, a cloudy entity to which one can pose spoken questions in order to search the 'net instead of going through the unpleasant business of typing or poking a touch screen.
Microsoft, Google and Apple all suggest you search by speaking to your kit. Google asks you to say “OK Google” in the presence of its search bar, while Apple offers the Siri assistance service.
Speaking “Hey Cortana” in the presence of a Cortana app does likewise, but when Microsoft brought Cortana to Android it struggled to gain access to devices' microphones. Lots of bug reports and disgruntled users later, Microsoft's yanked the feature from its Cortana-for-Android app, as of an update from December 20th.
Microsoft's smarting because it mostly missed mobile. This incident shows just what a mistake Microsoft made, because making things tricky for rivals when they try to leverage a dominant platform is just the kind of thing Microsoft used to do with Windows.
Cortana might be a kick-ass warrior woman, but she's just been schooled by a dorky Android that's paid attention to her parents' playbook. ®