Microsoft drops Cortana consumer skills in new Windows 10 update

Cortana on Windows 10 is getting some changes, Microsoft announced today, as the company shifts focus for what it wants its personal assistant to be. The new Cortana will emphasize productivity features, like helping to manage your schedule, adding to-do items, or sending emails.

As part of that shift, Microsoft is removing some of the older consumer-facing functionality like the ability to control music, manage a smart home, or support for third-party Cortana skills. In other words, Microsoft is going to stop trying to have Cortana emulate Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and focus more on features that fit in with the rest of Microsoft’s software suite.

Microsoft isn’t removing everything from Cortana — you’ll still be able to communicate with the assistant through voice or text, and more basic smart assistant functions like alarms and timers, settings, or conversational answers will still work, too. As part of Microsoft revamping Cortana, it’ll also be removing Cortana from the Microsoft Launcher on Android at the end of April.

The updated Cortana will roll out later this spring, but the new productivity features will only launch in the US at first. International users will still be able to get answers from Bing and talk with Cortana, though, with plans to add more features in the future.

Comments

So they are making Cortana dumber in some areas and possibly smarter in others? Doesn’t sound like progress.

When a product fails, you don’t keep doing the same thing.

Alas, Cortana – you were better than anyone ever gave you credit for. You might not be ahead of the game now, but when you launched, you were so far ahead of Siri and Google that it was pathetic.

I liked Cortana, but like every other assistant, I never really used it beyond the most basic things. Probably the most annoying thing they changed was that they stopped allowing you to type reminders, instead requiring you to use voice.

Why the fuck would they remove music playback control though?

Because you’re not supposed to be listening to music at work.

As a software engineer intern, I can tell you this is wildly false

No, don’t remove music playback controls! Those are useful.

It’s done.

Yeah, big mistake. Satya can’t see past cloud and Enterprise, unfortunately.

Satya can’t see past cloud and Enterprise, unfortunately.

Maybe but Microsoft is doing better than ever… so I’d say he’s doing some things right.

You can’t argue with money, but I do miss how Microsoft under Gates and Ballmer would stick with its failures until they became successes. Maybe it’s not worth it anymore, but I wish that Nadella would do the same and give us an additional option in places where companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple dominate these days.

It’s not smart to burn so many resources on consumer use cases when consumers (and more importantly "app devs") were openly hostile towards Windows 8 & 10, Cortana, and Windows Phone.

Putting time and money into Enterprise space where professionals make decisions is a better long term strategy.

Let’s not act like businesses embraced Windows 8, Cortana and Windows Phone.

Windows 10 is the only success story there, and I don’t think the consumer market any less so than the business one in that regard.

Satya can’t see past cloud and Enterprise, unfortunately.

Surface and particularly Xbox have lots of consumer appeal and are successful multi billion dollar business in their own right.

Ah, Microsoft. Instead of design you just flail wildly from one strategy of the month to the next.

I’m surprised anyone is still using Cortana. Seems completely pointless on desktop where you can do anything faster with mousing and typing than trying to get it to do what you actually want to do. Surface tablets?

I’d like to be able to highlight a block of numbers in Excel and tell Cortana to make a combination bar and line chart. That would be much faster than creating via mouse and keyboard.

You complain about them moving on then just summed up exactly why it made sense to move on.

More like a MS Teams assistant.

KILL IT (and Bixby) and make the search actually search my local files instead of the internet!

Can they just stop these radical chop & changes and drop Cortana completely.
I since stopped talking to Cortana ages ago & I do the functions myself quietly. It’s not like the world needs Cortana and without it we are parked.

Please for the love of clarity discontinue the use of he word "Drop" from headlines.

At this point so many places have started using the phrase "Feature drop" to mean a release of a new feature, that bloggers are using the word "Drop" to mean adding features just as often or even moreso as to eliminate features.

Remove, discontinue, eliminate, deprecate, cancel, stop, etc are all clearer than the word Drop.

Time to drop the drop, the word has literally become its own antonym.

Just kill it as windows phone and replace to Google assistant

Cortana shows the frustrating side of Microsoft. The company that can create something powerful and valuable, lose conviction and focus, and allow competitors to slowly take over because they cant work out what they actually want the product to be.

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