Microsoft has announced that it’s killing off Cortana, at least in Windows, where the assistant will be dropped in the not-so-distant future.
However, the aged assistant will still remain in other Microsoft services, including various bits of Microsoft Teams and Outlook mobile, so Cortana hasn’t entirely been binned.
As for Windows 11, though, you won’t be needing Cortana anyway, because as Microsoft reminds us, the operating system already has elements in place to replace the digital assistant.
For voice controls, there’s now a comprehensive Voice Access feature which Microsoft has been beavering away honing considerably of late.
And for queries and assistance, naturally there’s the new Bing AI (ChatGPT-powered bot) on tap, plus there’s something bigger in the pipeline – Copilot.
In case you missed it (somehow), Microsoft recently revealed it’s bringing Copilot to Windows 11 to sit at the heart of the operating system, offering help with whatever you’re doing.
Analysis: An inevitable move from Microsoft
While Copilot isn’t here yet, the AI will be far more extensive in terms of its scope than Cortana. When it comes to assistance with doing stuff in Windows 11, it’ll not just tell you about useful features for any given task, but offer to automatically enable them if needed. Copilot can also summarize a Word document, for example, Bing AI-style, and its far more wide-ranging skills and utility make Cortana irrelevant as a result.
Just on that basis, it’s no surprise to see Microsoft giving Cortana the elbow from Windows. Indeed, with Cortana getting cut off late in 2023, that perhaps is a further suggestion that this is when Copilot will step up to be incorporated in Windows 11 – perhaps with the 23H2 update? We know Copilot will be in Windows 11 preview builds this month (or at least that’s what Microsoft has told us), so it seems everything is all lining up.
Although there’s always a chance that Copilot is such a big feature addition, Microsoft may want to save it for next-gen Windows (Windows 12, maybe) which is set to arrive next year (rumor has it).
Whatever the case, Cortana is not exactly going to be missed outside a niche of users, at least in Windows, anyway. As a digital assistant, rather than being an all-rounder, Microsoft had already angled Cortana more to business-related use (hence Cortana remaining in Teams and so forth after being ditched from Windows). So, none of this is a shock, and it just makes sense for Microsoft to eject Cortana with Copilot now incoming for Windows 11.