Microsoft just burned Cortana to the ground — there's a better AI assistant in town anyway

Cortana app burning on laptop
(Image credit: Dall-E/Microsoft)

As a laptop reviewer, I cannot feign any condolences for Cortana's death. The amount of times I've heard "a little sign in here, a touch of Wi-Fi there" while setting up laptops throughout my career has been torture. So when XDA Developers and PCWorld said they spotted a support document that revealed that Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Cortana app, I thought, "Good riddance!"

Excuse me while I dance on Cortana's grave. 

We all saw it coming anyway. With Microsoft going all in with Co-pilot, the new Windows 11-bound AI assistant that Cortana wish it was, we knew that Cortana's days were numbered. I mean, come on, do you use Cortana? Probably not!

There's a new sheriff in town. Co-pilot, poised to be built into Windows 11, will actually be useful. And yes, that was shade. (Check out some of the amazing capabilities of Copilot that we covered last week.)

Say your goodbyes to Cortana

Microsoft announced that it's officially ending support for Cortana as a standalone app in late 2023.

However, the Redmond-based tech giant says that it will still live on in Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display, and Microsoft Teams rooms — platforms that I don't use. Woot!

If you, unlike me, are feeling down in the dumps about Cortana's ousting because you often use the digital assistant for various purposes, Microsoft says you needn't worry because features like Windows 11 Voice Access should fill its void. 

"[Voice Access] is a new feature in Windows 11 that lets you control your PC and write text using your voice," Microsoft said. In other words, you can use vocal commands to browse the web, switch between apps, and even read and write emails. It works offline, too.

Microsoft also boasted about its new AI-powered Bing browser, which is uses the same technology that underpins GPT-4. You can ask it complex questions, and in return, it will spit out a concise answer in a conversational, human-like manner.

Bing AI

Bing Ai (Image credit: Microsoft)

And finally, Microsoft made a big to-do about Cortana's replacement: Copilot. This cool AI entity is set to be built into Windows 11.  Copilot will be your new assistant. You can ask it to recommend the best Spotify playlists based on your mood, demand that it adjusts your PC settings for optimized workflow, roll out summaries for long, boring PDFs, and more.

Copilot in Windows 11

Copilot in Windows 11 (Image credit: Future)

Not only will Copilot be a staple in Windows 11, but it will also be integrated into Microsoft 365 apps. For example, you can prompt Copilot to create a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation based on whatever topic is of interest to you. That's far more than Cortana ever did for me since it launched on Windows 10 back in 2015. (Cortana first debuted on the Windows Phone 8.1 in 2014.)

Since then, Microsoft must have realized that Cortana couldn't keep up with more popular AI assistants (e.g., Siri, Alexa, and Google), so little by little, the Redmond-based tech giant began stripping it away from Windows. For example, it was nixed from the Windows 10 taskbar in May 2020. Last year, Microsoft announced that Cortana got eliminated from the Windows boot experience (Hallelujah!).

And now, Cortana app is set to be gone from Windows forever. Happy days!

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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!