We reported a few days ago on the surprising news that Microsoft was discontinuing one of the keystone features of Cortana – its integration with Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 business back-end, which would allow executives to ask natural language questions about the state of their business.
Then Microsoft wrote:
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.
This naturally caused us to doubt the future of Microsoft’s increasingly beleaguered digital assistant, which may have prompted Microsoft to update their post with some new text.
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.
The new post, however, raises more questions than it answers. In particular, it mentions “multiple channels including Cortana“, suggesting “partners” will be able to query Microsoft’s backend in natural language without using Cortana.
At least Microsoft still claims that they will support Cortana for this feature in the future, but it appears the service is certainly opening up in some way, and we know one Microsoft partner who is very eager to get a foothold on Windows.