It’s no secret that Microsoft has been rethinking its Cortana strategy the past few months. Instead of trying to go up against Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby, etc, they have decided to repurpose it as a productivity tool in its Microsoft 365 suite. So their latest announcement is not really surprising given all these. They will be making changes to Cortana over the next few years and this includes shutting down the support for the Cortana app on Android devices and ending support for third-party skills.
The first change that they’ll be implementing is to end support for third-party Cortana skills by September 7. After that, the next to go will be the Cortana app on Android devices but that will be in early 2021, no specific date yet. This is because Cortana is already included in Windows 10, Outlook mobile, and soon, the Microsoft Teams mobile app. Users will be able to use it for productivity purposes like managing calendars, emails, joining meetings, etc.
If you own a Harman Kardon Invoke speaker, there’s bad news for you. Support for Cortana on that particular device will end by January 2021. They’re now working with the brand to create a “Bluetooth-enabled transition plan” so you will still be able to listen to your music, podcasts, and radio stations. Owners will also receive a $50 Microsoft gift card for each active Invoke speaker they have, if you’ve sent Cortana voice request after July 31, 2019.
Those who have Surface Headphones will still be able to use Cortana through the Outlook mobile and Play My Emails features but support for the previous version in the first version of the headphones will be removed by 2021. They will get a Microsoft $25 gift card as well. The support for the new Cortana features will also be available on both versions of the Surface Headphones and the new Surface Earbuds.
If you’re dependent on Cortana as your digital assistant, you still have few more months to try out Google Assistant or others. They didn’t say exactly when in 2021 they will stop support for the app but January us a good bet since that’s the other dates they specified.