Cortana killed on iOS and Android — here's the fate of Microsoft's voice assistant

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Cortana sat on the sidelines as voice assistants such as Google, Siri and Alexa took over our hearts. The "smart" AI just couldn't resonate with the masses. As a result, Microsoft has killed Cortana on Android and iOS devices.

Cortana is all sizzle, no steak. She makes a showy appearance helping users set up their new Windows devices with a friendly voice, but other than that, Cortana hasn't proved itself to be a worthy AI staple in users' daily lives.

Cortana gets kicked from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Cortana, launched on Android and iOS in 2015, had so much potential. She could have been our helpful virtual sidekick as we navigated Windows. Personally, I would have loved to make good use of Microsoft's voice assistant, shouting "Hey Cortana, take a screenshot" or "Hey Cortana, open [insert file name]," but unfortunately, the Redmond-based tech giant dropped the ball on Cortana.

As such, Microsoft pulled the Cortana app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. "After March 31, 2021, the Cortana mobile app on your phone will no longer be supported," Microsoft said in a statement.

As of Wednesday, all Cortana content such as reminders and lists will no longer function in the Cortana app. However, they can still be accessed through Windows. "Also, Cortana reminders, lists, and tasks are automatically synced to the Microsoft To Do app, which you can download to your phone for free," Microsoft added.

Cortana's demotion isn't a shock. In January 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella acknowledged that Cortana didn't have the "oomph" to compete with other voice assistants on the market. Later that year, Microsoft snipped Cortana from Xbox.


Cortana (Image credit: Microsoft)

Cortana continued to fade from the market over the years. In early March, the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke speaker (an Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor) dropped Cortana, turning the "smart" speaker into a dumb one. Customers with active Invoke speakers received a $50 gift card for the functionality loss. 

Cortana isn't completely dead, though. Microsoft insinuated that it is rebranding Cortana to be more of a productivity-focused AI assistant that benefits Microsoft 365 customers. Cortana is starting to sound an awful lot like Clippy, if you ask me.

Microsoft admits that its discontinuation of Cortana across devices is "disruptive" to some customers, but it believes that it is the best way to move forward with the embattled voice assistant. 

"We look forward to continuing to innovate on ways Cortana can help you navigate the modern workplace so you can save time and focus on the things that matter most in your day," Microsoft concluded.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!