Microsoft Cortana's farewell tour comes to the Windows Insider program

Last season's assistant shuffles off from the Canary build of Windows 11

Microsoft has hammered yet another stake through the heart of its doomed assistant, Cortana, with a Windows Insider release that removes the service once and for all.

Killing off Cortana has taken Microsoft a while since it signalled that the end was coming. Support for the assistant as a standalone application in Windows has long been deprecated, and Cortana is being unceremoniously stripped from Teams Mobile, Teams Display, and Teams Rooms.

This week, it was the turn of the Windows 11 Insider Preview – build 25967 – to dispense with the assistant's services with a terse confirmation: "The Cortana app is removed after updating to this build. We have ended support for Cortana."

And with that, an era has ended.

Cortana's death rattle has gone on for years. Support for the mobile app was removed in 2021 as Microsoft insisted the service would continue "its evolution as a productivity assistant."

Sadly, that evolution was directly into Microsoft big-bag-o'-failed-projects, where it joins the likes of Zune, Windows Phone, and the Microsoft Band.

Instead, Microsoft wants users to embrace cloud-based AI service Copilot in all its forms, whether through Bing, Microsoft 365, or Windows itself. Copilot in Windows began turning up with the September 26 update after a few months in preview and, combined with Bing Chat and voice access in Windows, is expected to plug the Cortana-shaped hole in the lives of customers who actually used it.

Although removing Cortana has not come as a surprise, Microsoft has added several design flourishes to the Canary build of Windows 11 – elements that might or might not make it to the mainstream.

These include a new Settings homepage, with cards representing device and account settings, and several tweaks to other user elements. Microsoft is also still investigating why the print queue is broken in this, as well as other recent Canary builds.

However, visuals aside, this build is most notable for the axing of Cortana and the end of another Microsoft dream to revolutionize the home and workplace.

No flowers. ®

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