Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed its transition of Cortana into a productivity assistant is nearly complete. The company confirmed most consumer-oriented features, such as music controls, have been removed from the tool. Now, Petri reports Microsoft may remove the Cortana name entirely, in favor of Microsoft 365 Assistant.
Cortana was once an integrated part of Windows 10 and combined with the platform’s Search tool. Microsoft separated Search and Cortana last year and now the assistant’s role on Windows has been diminished further. Indeed, Microsoft says from Windows 10 20H1, she will only be available to people with a Microsoft account.
Now that Cortana no longer supports consumer tools, it probably makes sense that she should also get a rebranding. Cortana is a name that appeals to personal users but it’s not professional sounding. Now the tool is productivity-focused, Microsoft 365 Assistant is much more enterprise-friendly.
It also makes sense because Microsoft says Cortana is now locked into its Microsoft 365 bundle.
“AI in Microsoft 365 is driving a significant shift in how people interact with Microsoft 365 applications. Our experiences personalize and adapt to you, support you and help amplify your skills. You can see this shift in the personalized experiences we are enabling through Cortana, your personal productivity assistant in Microsoft 365. Cortana helps you stay on top of your day, save time and do your best work,” the company says.
Cortana is now a dedicated Microsoft Store app that is separated from the Windows 10 experience. We have seen the Cortana app evolve through preview development on the Inside. When Version 2004 drops in May, the app will be widely available out of beta.
For users who used Cortana as a personal assistant for smart home devices and general commands, that’s no longer possible. Microsoft says all those tools are being removed:
“Some consumer skills including music, connected home and third-party skills will no longer be available in the updated Cortana experience in Windows 10. We’re also making some changes to where Cortana helps you. As part of our standard practice, we are ending support for Cortana in older versions of Windows that have reached their end-of-service dates.