Microsoft shuts down Cortana for iOS and Android

Published on 31 Mar 2021

As of March 31st, 2021 Microsoft has stopped supporting the Cortana mobile apps that were developed for Android as well as iOS. Launched in November 2018, Cortana left Apple's app store and Google's Play Store in January 2020. However, Microsoft continued to provide support for existing users of the mobile apps.

What does Microsoft say:

Via their support page, Microsoft announced that Cortana mobile app users will no longer have access to reminders and lists. These will however still be available through Cortana on Windows. Users can also see their lists and tasks in Microsoft's To-do app as it automatically syncs with Cortana. The To-do app is available for free download

for both Android and iOS users.

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Why did Microsoft kill Cortana's mobile apps?

Cortana was developed as a virtual assistant way back in 2009. and first appeared on Windows in the year 2015. The mobile apps for Android and iOS were also launched that same year. However, Cortana was unable to compete and hold her own against fierce competition from rivals like Google's assistants, Apple's Siri, and Amazon's Alexa. Today, Microsft has shifted the focus for Cortana from consumers to enterprises. Cortana is now being developed as conversational AI for businesses.

Based on this change in strategy, Cortana will be integrated with Microsoft's highly popular 365 suite of apps. Adding Cortana to the 365 means that those using the Teams mobile app will be able to use the voice assistant to manage calendars, email as well as join meetings. Exchange users will be able to add personalized and actionable briefs in Outlook. Dedicated apps for iOS and Android no longer fit with Microsoft's strategy. Cortana will however continue to act as the default voice assistant for windows.

The end of the mobile apps for Cortana does not come as a surprise. Back in July 2020, Microsoft announced that it would be ending support for the apps. In 2019, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft said that the company would scale back its plans for Cortana. The assistant would be optimized for Office 365 and would no longer compete with Alexa or Siri. Over the past year, Microsoft has removed Cortana from other platforms like Xbox One, Skype, and Windows 10 Search. In January of this year support for Cortana was ended in several countries around the world like India, China, Australia, Germany, Spain, UK, Mexico, and Canada.

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