After four years of existing on iOS and Android whether you knew it or not, Cortana might not be long for the two dominant mobile platforms.
Microsoft posted a note to its support website that the virtual assistant, strangely named after a Halo character, would lose support for its Android and iOS app in some regions on Jan. 31. Those would be Canada, Australia and the U.K., per The Verge. It’s worth noting that the United States support site didn’t get the same note, so Cortana might keep trucking along on the two mobile platforms in this country for the time being.
If you use mobile Cortana any of those other markets, though, your reminders and lists won’t work through that app anymore. They’ll still be synced to the Microsoft To Do app, as a minor consolation prize. It’s also being integrated into Microsoft 365 apps.
Still, it’s hard to see Cortana lasting much longer as a viable, standalone alternative to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant on popular mobile devices if it’s being killed off in three major markets. The biggest practical effect this might have on users is that Cortana is used to set up Microsoft devices, so the company will need to create a workaround for that.
Cortana originally launched in 2014 alongside Windows Phone 8.1, the second-to-last attempt by Microsoft to make its own mobile OS. It’s still a big part of Windows PCs, but lost native support on Xbox game consoles earlier in 2019. The alternative at that point was to use the Xbox skill in… the Cortana app for Android and iOS.
Whether this is Microsoft admitting defeat or just using Cortana in smarter ways remains to be seen. Maybe this is just high-level viral marketing for Halo Infinite, the next game in the long-running series in which Cortana is literally the villain (or so it seems for now).