Satya Nadella’s Microsoft is not one to keep a failing product on life support, and after killing Windows Phone, the Microsoft Band and Groove Music, the axeman may have found another target.
While Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant is present on nearly every Windows 10 PC in the west, it has never developed a massive following and has less than 1% of the 3rd party skills as market leader Amazon Alexa.
The one saving grace of the digital assistant has been the promise of better integration with Microsoft’s enterprise backend, with Microsoft recent saying:
We’re taking our Cortana integration to the next level by embedding sales activities, accounts, and opportunities into Cortana to surface what’s most relevant to salespeople at any time – across both personal and professional sources.
It now seems plans have changed, as, in a blog post, Microsoft announced:
After carefully consideration, we’ve decided to discontinue the Cortana integration preview feature. Dynamics 365 will no longer appear in Cortana’s notebook, and Cortana will no longer prompt users with relevant information about sales activities, accounts, opportunities, and meetings.
With Cortana soon to become a mere conduit to Alexa, after Amazon release their own Cortana skill, and Cortana losing capabilities such as identifying music, and not having a meaningful presence on phones, how long before Cortana, like Groove, will start displaying a banner suggesting you may want to use Alexa instead?
Microsoft has updated the blog post with following information. They have clarified that current Cortana integration is being removed, but they are working on more robust integration which will be releasing in the future.
We are working to deliver a robust and scalable digital assistant experience across all of our Dynamics 365 offerings. This includes natural language integration for customers and partners across multiple channels including Cortana. To that end, we are discontinuing the current Cortana integration preview feature that was made available for Dynamics 365 and we are focusing on building a new long term intelligent solution experience, which will include Cortana digital assistant integration.