In a bid to pioneer the next-gen AI revolution, Microsoft is set to retire Cortana, its digital assistant app, and focus on more contemporary AI advancements. A notable move towards the AI-future is Bing Chat, a ChatGPT-like feature, and other AI-empowered productivity elements being integrated across Windows and Edge browser.
Microsoft's decision, confirmed via a support page, reveals that the standalone Cortana app in Windows will bid its adieu starting August 2023. Although Microsoft remains discreet about their thought process behind this shift, it's clear that Cortana is viewed as a precursor to an AI-driven era.
The tech giant envisages users interacting with a smarter GPT-4-powered chatbot in the future, a vision that aligns with Microsoft's partnership with OpenAI. Furthermore, plans were revealed in May to incorporate a new ChatGPT-based Bing experience into Windows 11.
For the time being, Windows users will witness a transition period where Cortana exists in a reduced capacity as the standalone Windows app support comes to an end. Cortana will continue to live in Outlook mobile, Teams mobile, Microsoft Teams display, and Microsoft Teams rooms, albeit potentially briefly.
Microsoft's future sees Bing Chat making headway into the enterprise sector, with Microsoft 365 Copilot set to be integrated into its productivity software, plus Outlook, Teams and more.
Microsoft acknowledges the transition may impact how some users work in Windows and intends to ensure a smooth shift. The support page encourages users to utilize alternatives to Cortana such as Windows 11 voice access, the new AI-powered Bing, Microsoft 365 Copilot and Windows Copilot.
The move to sunset Cortana and shift to Bing Chat reflects a broader trend. Other tech behemoths may likely follow Microsoft's path. For instance, Amazon's recent promotion of Alexa's head scientist, Rohit Prasad, to lead a team focusing on artificial general intelligence suggests Alexa could evolve into something far more advanced than the digital assistant of today. Similarly, Apple has its eyes set on generative AI development, though its customer release plans remain under wraps.
In the ever-evolving tech landscape, Microsoft's transition from Cortana to next-gen AI sets the tone for the digital assistant market. Buckle up for an AI-empowered ride!