In a devastating blow to all eight of you, Microsoft pulls the plug on Cortana's Android, iOS apps

Chatty digital assistant can still be found on Outlook, Teams, Windows


It's the end of the line for the Android and iOS incarnations of Microsoft's AI assistant Cortana.

“After March 31, 2021, the Cortana mobile app on your phone will no longer be supported,” the Windows giant warned on Wednesday.

"The Cortana content you created – such as reminders and lists – will no longer function in the Cortana mobile app, but can still be accessed through Cortana in Windows. Also, Cortana reminders, lists, and tasks are automatically synced to the Microsoft To Do app, which you can download to your phone for free."

We joke that no one used Cortana on Android and iOS though truth be told: it had over a million installs on Google's mobile OS, and had an average Play Store rating of 4.2 from 40,000 reviews. It also had a score of 4.2 on Apple's software store from 2,700 reviews. So, clearly, it wasn't terrible.

Pulling the plug on Cortana-in-your-pocket shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, though. In July, Microsoft stated it would end support for the apps come “early 2021." And last month, it killed off its digital assistant for the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker. Now owners of the Invoke are left with a bog-standard Bluetooth speaker.

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A Redmond spokesperson told El Reg that the software goliath is still keen on its AI-powered assistant: “Microsoft is continuing to invest in Cortana as a personal productivity assistant more deeply ingrained in Microsoft 365 and Windows. We see the value in creating an assistant that can truly help you get things done where you need it the most.

"You’ll continue to see Cortana show up in places like Outlook, Teams, Windows and more as we expand the assistant across our productivity tools and services to help with the mundane tasks like scheduling meetings, managing your inbox and meetings, and more.”

It was seemingly difficult for Microsoft’s chatty assistant to get ahead of its rivals on smartphones since Apple and Google install their own alternatives. And we don't talk about Windows Phone anymore. The Azure biz was also left in the dust on the home speaker front as Amazon and Google slipped into living rooms around the world.

Microsoft previously styled its decision to scale back parts of Cortana as “changes to some US consumer-centric features and functionalities with lower usage.” ®


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