Microsoft announces final farewell to Cortana as it embraces new AI voice assistant services

Priya Walia

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Microsoft has officially bid farewell to its once highly-anticipated digital assistant, Cortana, with the latest Windows Insider release dealing a final blow. The removal of Cortana from Windows 11 Insider Canary Channel build 25967, marks the end of an era in which the voice-activated assistant struggled to find its footing in the tech world.

Cortana’s decline had been gradual, with Microsoft phasing out support for the standalone application on Windows and removing the mobile app in 2021, all while insisting that it would continue evolving as a productivity assistant.

In a brief statement accompanying the release, Microsoft stated, “The Cortana app is removed after updating to this build. We have ended support for Cortana,” signifying the final nail in Cortana’s coffin.

With Cortana’s departure, Microsoft is encouraging users to embrace a suite of AI services to enhance productivity and user experiences.

These include Voice access in Windows 11 for voice-controlled PC tasks, the new AI-powered Bing for concise and reliable web search results, Microsoft 365 Copilot utilizing AI to assist with tasks using your Microsoft 365 data, and Windows Copilot in preview for Windows 11, which centralizes AI assistance to streamline work and collaboration across various applications.

While Cortana’s removal was anticipated, the Windows 11 Insider Preview, build 25967, also introduced several design enhancements, although it remains uncertain whether these changes will make it to the mainstream.

That includes a revamped Settings homepage featuring cards for device and account settings, as well as various user interface tweaks. Microsoft is actively investigating issues such as a broken print queue in this and other recent Canary builds.

As Microsoft continues to refine Windows 11 and explore new features, it remains to be seen how these changes will impact users’ experiences with the operating system. Cortana may be gone, but the company is poised to move forward with its vision of AI assistance through Copilot and other services.

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