All good things must come to an end, and apparently that applies to bad things as well. Microsoft Cortana — a virtual assistant that competes for the title of most unfashionable with Samsung’s Bixby — seems to be winding down, much to the disappointment of its tens of fans.

As spotted by Windows Latest, the Cortana app received its first update in over two years via the Microsoft Store. But instead of giving the app a new lease of life, it instead offers a lethal injection. Load it up after the update, and it presents a message reading: “Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated.”

Accompanying that message is a link to a support document, which explains that Microsoft is instead turning its attentions to Windows Copilot and Bing’s AI tools.

“Starting in September 2023, we will no longer support Cortana in Windows as a standalone app,” the post explains. “However, you can still access powerful productivity features in Windows and Edge, which have increased AI capabilities,” it adds, highlighting new features packed with that new-fangled generative AI which makes Cortana look like yesterday’s news.

Actually, “yesterday” is a bit of an exaggeration — Cortana first debuted back in 2014 when Microsoft still had ambitions in the mobile space with Windows Phone. Early adopters of Windows 10 will remember Microsoft trying to push Cortana on you at every opportunity as if chatting to your PC was more efficient than using that perfectly adapted 101-button keyboard at your fingertips.

Technically Cortana isn’t completely dead. As Microsoft points out, it lives on as a feature inside Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display and Microsoft Teams rooms. 

But killing the main app isn’t exactly a vote of confidence, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Cortana was eventually phased out of these apps as well, with generative AI models pushing it into a somewhat late retirement.

Still, better late than continuing to throw good money after bad. Apropos of nothing, Samsung continues to persist with Bixby.

Alan Martin
Alan is an experienced and versatile writer with the unique distinction of having written for both The New Statesman and Nuts. The list of publications Alan has written for doesn't stop there. His work has also been published in: Wired, CNET, Gizmodo UK, ShortList, NME, TechRadar, The i, The Independent, The Evening Standard, City Metric, Macworld, Pocket Gamer, Expert Reviews, Coach, The Inquirer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Tom's Guide, T3, PC Pro, IT Pro, Ideal Home, Livingetc, Stuff, Business Insider, theBit, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Alan now covers a range of subjects for ReviewsFire, with a focus on news - his unique style of covering technology news is a key part of ReviewsFire's success.

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