Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant was intended to rival Alexa, Siri and the Google Assistant as a way to control your smart home.
But that dream failed to become a reality, and this week it will be removed from the only smart speaker it ever appeared on.
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A software update will be pushed out to the Invoke speaker by Harman Kardon from March 10, removing Cortana five years after Microsoft planned for it to become the voice assistant of the home.
Even if Invoke users don't install the update when it arrives tomorrow, Harman Kardon says Cortana "will end in the coming months regardless of whether you receive the update." The voice assistant is also disappearing from smartphones and Microsoft's Surface headphones too.
Once the update has been installed, the Invoke will turn into a regular Bluetooth speaker and no longer support the voice assistant. This is undoubtedly a shame for anyone who bought the speaker as an alternative to an Amazon Echo or Nest device, but with Microsoft scaling back its smart home plans and pivoting Cortana away from Internet of Things devices, the move doesn't come as a surprise.
A note on Harman Kardon's website explains : "Microsoft decided to end support for the Cortana integration in the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker in January 2021. Microsoft has worked closely with Harman Kardon to create a device transition plan that will help ease the impact this has on some of our customers."
The audio company also said how "Microsoft noticed few users engage in the productivity tasks that Cortana is focused on...this was a tough decision [Microsoft] did not take lightly."
Now, Microsoft is free to focus on its plans to turn Cortana into a useful productivity tool integrated with its Microsoft 365 services.
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