Microsoft announced on Friday that it is ditching Cortana in Windows 10 and 11 before the end of this year. Microsoft said Cortana will no longer be supported in the stipulated OS categories as a standalone software but that it may still be allowed in Outlook and Microsoft Teams. Tech analysts said they are not surprised by the move given that Microsoft has embraced ChatGPT-powered Bing AI and working towards integrating Copilot.
“This change only impacts Cortana in Windows, and your productivity assistant, Cortana, will continue to be available in Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display, and Microsoft Teams rooms,” Microsoft announced. We know that this change may affect some of the ways you work in Windows. So we want to help you transition smoothly to the new options. Instead of clicking the Cortana icon and launching the app to begin using voice, now you can use voice and satisfy your productivity needs through different tools.”
Microsoft Cortana was introduced as a voice-controlled personal assistant in 2014 after Apple launched Siri, Amazon launched Alexa, and Google launched Google Now. Users can speak to Cortana to launch and execute certain programs with ease, but since Bing AI can do most of that already and the AI technology is powering Copilot, it seems there is really no need for Cortana anymore because Copilot will take over its functions and more.
Just like Cortana, Copilot can carry out any functions via voice commands and also offer helpful suggestions that could be activated if greenlighted. Windows Copilot would be able to manage the Windows operating system and its installed applications through a chat-based interface that users would find interesting and fascinating. AI will power most of these functions according to OpenAI’s GPT large language models.
There are rumors that Microsoft will roll out ad features for several products on the latest Windows versions when Copilot is activated and Cortana rested, but this idea is already generating disagreements among potential Windows users. There are reports that ads may be shown on the Start Menu, Weather app, MSN news feed, Settings app, and wherever possible.
“It’s sad and hilarious at the same time,” one author stated on Reddit. “The Settings app is what, 10 years old at this point? It STILL is an incoherent mess that barely replaces the good old Control Panel. Shoving ads in there just shows where their priorities are.” Another asked that “Are GPTs going to devolve into the used car salesman of the tech world? I am sure [Amazon’s] Alexa and Google and others are in the same opportunity position.”
Some experts said Microsoft may choose to integrate Copilot in Windows 12 and other next-gen Windows as of 2024.