The end of Cortana as a consumer-fronted tool is fast approaching. Microsoft’s Andrew Shuman has confirmed the iOS and Android versions of the app are being withdrawn from all markets except for the United States.
Shuman, who replaced Javier Soltero as Corporate Vice President for Cortana, confirmed the withdrawal to VentureBeat. It follows Microsoft’s previous reveal that the app will leave Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, and the U.K.
So, why is Cortana sticking around on iOS and Android in the United States? Well, Microsoft says to help users of the Surface Headphones configure the device and update firmware. As Redmond keeps pushing, this certainly does not mean the end of Cortana.
Indeed, Shuman says Microsoft remains committed to the assistant, including the Cortana/Alexa partnership.
“We still have a great aspiration to do a lot more … kind of across the two companies,” he said. “It started really tops down. I don’t know if you remember that, but Satya [Nadella] and Jeff [Bezos] actually cooked this plan up. You can still invoke Cortana from Alexa, and vice versa. I think it will be a great area for us to lean into.
“We really believe in a multi-assistant world. Just like in the real world where I might have a doctor, and a lawyer, maybe a trainer, you’re going to have multiple assistants that are good at what they’re good at. We’re not going to become an ecommerce company anytime soon, but assistants are great at helping you buy things.”
Invoke Speaker and Cortana
Last week, users of the Harman Kardon Invoke Speaker claimed Cortana was no longer functioning on the device. Microsoft is shifting Cortana’s focus away from a front-facing consumer tool and more towards productivity. The assistant will still be around, but she will now handle tasks behind the scenes on Windows.