Microsoft is set to discontinue its digital assistant app, Cortana, this month as it directs its focus towards cutting-edge AI advancements. Among these is Bing Chat, a ChatGPT-like feature, and other AI-powered productivity tools integrated into Windows and the Edge web browser. The decision to end Cortana as a standalone app on Windows was confirmed via a support page, signaling the start of the transition in August 2023.
While Microsoft hasn’t elaborated further on the matter, it’s evident that the company views Cortana as a stepping stone towards a new era of AI. They are now looking to replace it with a smarter chatbot powered by GPT-4, the result of their collaboration with OpenAI. This new ChatGPT-based Bing experience will be seamlessly integrated into Windows 11.
During this transitional period, Windows users will still have access to Cortana in some capacity, though the standalone app will no longer be supported. It will remain available in Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display, and Microsoft Teams rooms, but these experiences may also be phased out soon. Microsoft has outlined plans to incorporate Bing Chat into its enterprise services, including Microsoft 365 Copilot integrated into productivity software such as Outlook and Teams.
To assist users with a smooth transition, Microsoft suggests alternatives to Cortana, such as Windows 11 voice access for PC control using voice commands, the new AI-powered Bing, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Windows Copilot, which offer centralized AI assistance for Windows users.
The decision to discontinue Cortana’s standalone app was initially reported by Windows Latest, an independent website not affiliated with Microsoft. The site observed that the latest Cortana Windows app update caused it to stop functioning. Users attempting to launch the app received a message stating that Cortana as a standalone app is now deprecated, directing them to the support page for more information.
Microsoft’s shift from Cortana to Bing Chat represents a potential trend that may be followed by other major tech companies in the future.