Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana. Voice assistants are more and more popular, though I personally don’t use any of them, maybe with little exception of Siri as I’m an Apple user. To be honest, Apple’s Siri is behind any of main voice assistants. While companies usually add feature after feature, Microsoft will remove some functionality features from its Cortana. Cortana is not being discontinued, Microsoft just wants to focus more on productivity.
With next Windows’s 10 big release (Windows 10 20H1), Microsoft said Cortana will lose some features. Cortana won’t be no longer able to control music, smart home and features which are not directly from Microsoft – like features developed by 3rd party vendors.
Cortana won’t lose integration with Amazon’s Alexa. Microsoft also wants to improve productivity with Cortana, like working with calendars, reminders, adding new items to To Do (successor of Wunderlist purchased by Microsoft in 2015), etc.
If you are an Android user and you are using Microsoft Launcher, you will lose Cortana features in April 2020. Also, Microsoft does not count with Cortana on unsupported products, like already dead Windows 10 Mobile and older releases of Windows 10.
If you are owner of Harman Kardon Invoke, don’t worry, Cortana will continue to work, but you will be forced to use Cortana app for iOS or Android.
It looks like every big company wants its own ecosystem. And customers in it, ideally bound forever. It’s not easy, for example, to move from Microsoft and Google ecosystem combo – if you are using Windows 10 PC and Android smartphone – to Apple ecosystem when you purchase your first Mac and iPhone. Or if you, for example, are using Gmail, Office 365 and Apple Music combo – it means you need three IDs, all with many features and services you will never use. When I want to listen to Apple Music, why I get iCloud Drive too? And we could continue. Every company wants to create all-in-one experience. It may be good if you are using most of services from your chosen platform – one account for all, not many fragmented separated accounts to care of. And a lot of people like it. Or these “Log in with Facebook” or “Log in with Google account” buttons. Many users will just log in with their already existing Facebook/Google accounts instead of creating a separate account for that service. Easy and fast. People are lazy and big companies know it. If you are logged in via Facebook account everywhere where possible, it’s hard to leave Facebook. And Zuckerberg knows it. This strategy use all big companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. It’s hard to avoid vendor lock. Microsoft is relatively friendly with support for third party platforms, but reason probably is that Windows Mobile is dead and to maintain business in mobile world is really important for Microsoft. Google has many users registered in its Google account because of services like YouTube and Gmail and also Google dominates in smartphones’ world. Apple has covered both mobile and desktop world with iPhones and Macs and users are pretty loyal (often called “sheeps”). For Microsoft it’s hard to compete in this field, but thanks to penetration of Windows operating system and MS Office, Microsoft is still big player in tech world.