Microsoft is axing Cortana package tracking as part of a continued shift in the digital assistant’s role. According to Windows Central, attempting to use the feature presents the users with the following message:
“Sorry, Cortana will no longer be able to track packages from your email.”
Instead, users are encouraged to track their packages via Outlook or Mail and Calendar. Mail and Calendar is installed on every PC by default, so nobody should be missing out on the functionality.
Though it’s always sad to see the functionality removed, there are several reasons Microsoft would do so. For one, Outlook is available on every major platform and sees a high level of use. Cortana has a relatively small install base, and Microsoft is trying to move away from the image of her as an assistant.
After heavy competition from Google and Amazon, Microsoft has pretty much conceded the digital assistant market. It was far too late to the smart speaker market and doesn’t hold a candle to Alexa in integrations.
As a result, the company wants to use Cortana to make its OS smarter. Rather than traditional assistance, she will surface information as you need it, often to aid in productivity. As such, users will still get a notification alert, they just won’t see a dedicated hub in the Cortana Notebook.
Despite this, Microsoft didn’t give any forewarning or specific reasoning.
“We are constantly evaluating and finessing the Cortana experience to offer users the most valuable features and capabilities,” said a spokesperson to Windows Central. “For package tracking ease, Outlook will continue to manage your package tracking emails, and create events in your calendar with details.”