It’s taken a long time, but Microsoft’s digital assistant known as Cortana is really dead. After stripping her of the only Cortana speaker and the only Cortana thermostat, Microsoft shut down the Cortana iOS and Android app. We̵
Microsoft launched the Cortana digital assistant app on Windows Phone in 2014 before it was brought to Windows 10, Xbox, iOS and Android. Originally, Microsoft planned to use Cortana solely as a codename, but Halo fans (where Cortana exists as an AI character) convinced Microsoft to keep the name for full release. Microsoft has even hired Jen Taylor to reprise the role of the digital assistant’s voice.
Ultimately, Cortana made its way into a single smart speaker and thermostat. Unfortunately, the Harmon Kardon Invoke smart speaker experience was awful, even if the hardware produced excellent sound. The Glass thermostat didn’t fare much better and turned out to be another case of good looks that weren’t smart.
When Cortana first launched, it came with features that Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri would later emulate, such as a digital notebook to track interests and settings. And you can create reminders and tasks that can even be triggered based on contextual complexity. For example, you can create a reminder to buy flowers the next time you visit a flower shop. At the time, the other digital assistants lacked such complex capabilities.
Unfortunately, that lead didn’t last long and Cortana quickly fell behind. Windows Phone died, and little by little Cortana support was dropped on other devices. Xbox ditched Cortana and now supports Alexa. Windows 10 was slowly leaving Cortana. The Invoke smart speaker and the Glass thermostat have both removed Cortana. And now Microsoft has shut down the iOS and Android Cortana apps.
As of today, you cannot download Cortana from the iOS and Google Play Store. And if you have already installed Cortana, it won’t work. Ask about the weather and Cortana will explain that she can’t help you anymore. Microsoft says it will shift Cortana’s focus to business ventures, allowing offices to use the digital assistant to take notes and schedule meetings. But we doubt whether that will happen.
The sad fact is, most people probably won’t miss Cortana. She was no longer useful a long time ago. In an ironic twist, Halo 4 revealed that Cortana was dying. In the gaming universe, all artificial intelligence programs undergo a “disaster” after seven years and lose control of their capabilities. And since real life mimics art, Cortana, the digital assistant, is shut down about seven years after her debut.