Cortana breaks up with Android and iOS to go steady with Microsoft 365

Breakups are never pretty, especially when you’ve been together a while, but it seems like Cortana and Android might have made an amicable split. Of course, that has a lot to do with Cortana’s limited user base and lack of popularity. Microsoft recently released a statement that Cortana will be integrated into Microsoft 365 productivity apps and that, as a result, the company would end Cortana support for Android and iOS devices.

Support will end on January 31, 2020. Anyone who uses Microsoft Launcher will receive an updated version that lacks Cortana.  And though the smart assistant bears the name of an iconic Halo character, her loss hasn’t generated much fanfare one way or another. In fact, the announcement barely had a lukewarm reception.

Part of the reason for this is that Cortana is even less useful than Siri when it comes to smart home integration. Without a tie-in to any mainstream phone on the market, Cortana failed to reach the majority of her potential user base. Even on Windows laptops, Cortana’s functionality was limited. While the Cortana app could be downloaded and used on both Android and iOS, it failed to compete with Google Assistant or Siri. Despite numerous changes throughout its existence, Cortana always seemed to fall flat.

Smart assistants are useful for performing a quick search or making a phone call, but their true utility become apparent when they’re integrated into smart home technology. Controlling the home with voice commands, placing orders for food, or calling an Uber are all powerful features that smart home enthusiasts have come to rely on. Unfortunately, Cortana was never capable of performing those tasks in a way that users found satisfactory. The assistant often felt like an afterthought rather than a full-fledged tool.

With Cortana relegated to proprietary Microsoft apps, many have begun to question Bixby’s future. The Samsung smart assistant typically arrives alongside Google Assistant and is never used except by accident. Without greater (and more useful) integration, Bixby might find itself going the way of Cortana. Bixby is good news for Siri, however — it means that Apple’s smart assistant isn’t at the very bottom of the pile, providing a bit of hope for HomeKit enthusiasts.

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