Microsoft Cortana To Be Withdrawn From International Consumer Markets Outside US But From Android Ecosystem Only?

Microsoft Cortana is undergoing some major changes. After being delinked from Windows Search within Windows 10, the virtual assistant has been steadily being realigned for a select few markets, regions and areas of applicability. A recent report claims Microsoft Cortana could be withdrawn from international markets. In other words, the company could be contemplating scaling back the mass or general availability of the virtual assistant outside the United States of America. Incidentally, the company could begin the withdrawal with Google’s Android OS ecosystem.

Microsoft Cortana, the much-hyped and discussed always-on, internet-connected, virtual assistant, might be scaled back from its former consumer-facing efforts. While the company might not withdraw Cortana from all the places, Microsoft is expected to stop offering the virtual assistant as part of its “launcher” for Android OS. Simply put, Microsoft Launcher, a replacement or alternative to Android’s default offering, could soon be devoid of Cortana. Currently, Microsoft Launcher comes with several Microsoft services.

Microsoft Launcher For Android Smartphones To Be Stripped Of Cortana Virtual Assistant Soon?

According to a new report, Microsoft plans to reduce the number of places the digital assistant appears, and one of those places could be the Microsoft Launcher for Android. Interestingly, Android smartphone users in the U.S. need not be concerned because the report suggests the change could happen only outside the country.

Microsoft has been refining its approach towards Cortana for quite some time. A leaked presentation video had strongly indicated that Microsoft is realigning its strategy for Cortana. It appears instead of going after the consumer market, Microsoft is steering Cortana and developing it to meet the needs of the enterprise market. Apparently, the company is interested in ensuring the companies, organizations and professional production houses start using Cortana as their go-to personal assistant. Needless to add, this strategy is in stark contrast to previous attempts by the company. For several years, Microsoft pushed Cortana as a virtual assistant for the average Microsoft product user.

Why Is Microsoft Realigning Cortana’s Availability?

Microsoft understands that virtual assistants and dictation are two of the fastest-growing technologies. However, there’s intense competition from Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s own virtual assistant for Android. Not to mention, even some smartphone makers and service providers too are offering their virtual assistants like Xiao Ai, Brenno, Bixby, etc. Moreover, Microsoft does not have a mobile operating system that can ship with Cortana. These hurdles have proven very tough to surpass for Cortana.

Microsoft Windows 10, which was the first OS to have a completely baked in Cortana, now runs on 500 million computers. Moreover, there are over 1.5 billion Windows devices being actively used in the world today. While these are impressive numbers, Microsoft has reportedly had a lot of trouble increasing the active usage of Cortana. According to the new report, Microsoft has had some trouble getting a few of its important services and software to work in unison with its North American counterparts. And Cortana was reportedly found to be just another of those shortcomings for the company.

While pulling Cortana from the Android smartphone ecosystem might seem a little harsh, it wasn’t as productive in an area that was dominated by Google’s own mobile operating system. Hence it seems only logical that Microsoft would want Cortana to serve in an area in which it has a competitive advantage, which is the enterprise segment.

With Cortana’s integration no longer a requirement, the Microsoft Launcher for Android could see a much faster development and deployment cycle. This could make the launcher even more appealing and potent. Although Cortana will disappear from Android, the smartphone users can easily fall back on the device’s default virtual assistant or anyone of the third-party alternatives.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.