Microsoft has decided to shut down its digital assistant app, Cortana, this month as the company shifts its focus towards next-generation AI advancements. Microsoft is now investing more in AI-powered features such as Bing Chat, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and other productivity tools integrated into Windows and its web browser Edge. The decision to end Cortana as a standalone app in Windows was confirmed through a support page, published in June and set to take effect in August 2023.
Reading between the lines, it becomes evident that Microsoft views Cortana as a stepping stone towards a new AI future. The company believes that users will rely on a more sophisticated chatbot powered by GPT-4, thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI. In May, Microsoft announced its plan to integrate the new Bing Chat experience, based on ChatGPT, directly into Windows 11.
During the transition period, Cortana will still be available to Windows users in some capacity. However, the standalone Windows app will no longer be supported. Currently, Cortana remains accessible in Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display, and Microsoft Teams rooms.
Yet, even these remaining Cortana-powered experiences may not last long, as Microsoft has already revealed its intentions to introduce Bing Chat to the enterprise sector, integrating Microsoft 365 Copilot into productivity software, Outlook, Teams, and more.
To help users navigate this change, Microsoft provides alternatives to Cortana, such as Windows 11 voice access for controlling PCs with voice commands, the new AI-powered Bing, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Windows Copilot, offering centralized AI assistance for Windows users.
The shutdown of the Cortana app was first reported by Windows Latest, an independent website not affiliated with Microsoft. The website noticed that the latest update caused the Cortana app to stop functioning, displaying a message indicating that “Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated,” with a link to the support page for more information.
This move by Microsoft reflects the ongoing evolution of digital assistants and AI technology in the tech industry. Companies like Amazon and Apple are also exploring ways to develop more capable and advanced AI tools for their respective platforms, indicating the continued growth and development of AI technology in the future.