Siri appears to be the last smart assistant standing as Microsoft quietly sunsets Cortana in Windows, but this may be a meaningless victory given the rise of AI-based chatbots.
Cortana's death has been a long time coming. Microsoft began removing support for Cortana on mobile in 2021 and is now killing it off on Windows as well.
According to a Microsoft support document first shared by Windows Latest, Cortana will no longer be supported in Windows starting in August 2023. While it didn't provide a specific day, it seems an update will erase this smart assistant at any time, if not already.
Of course, the news isn't a surprise as Microsoft turns its attention to the new and shiny toy provided by an OpenAI partnership — Bing Chat. This Large Language Model-powered chatbot can answer complex questions and summarize sources with some questionable accuracy.
Other competitors in the smart assistant space that started with Siri in 2011 included Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung Bixby, and dozens of other short-lived assistants. However, it seems everyone is moving on except Apple.
During the post-COVID layoffs that hit nearly every tech company except Apple, Amazon laid off a large chunk of its Alexa division. The company seems to bleed cash from Alexa and has slowly deprioritized the division, despite releasing new hardware.
If you've forgotten about Bixby, don't worry, so has Samsung. The assistant was slowly pushed to the background in favor of Google Assistant somewhere around 2020.
But even Google seems to be backing off its pride and joy smart assistant in favor of Bard. Google mentioned "AI" over 100 times during its 2023 I/O, but with emphasis on Bard and other LLMs — Google Assistant was an afterthought.
That leaves Apple and Siri. Even as Apple's CEO Tim Cook states that some portion of its increasing R&D spend is going to Apple AI research, the results haven't shown in Siri — yet. There have been alleged internal arguments about Apple's need to abandon Siri for a restart aimed at LLMs like Bard, but a concern for user privacy continues to win out.
Regardless of Apple's approach, we at AppleInsider find it difficult to believe Apple would abandon a brand like Siri, despite the cruft. Even if the company rewrites Siri from scratch, we expect whatever LLM form it takes will still be called Siri.
Apple has always been a smart brand company and is unwilling to abandon recognizable product names. It isn't about to change the name of one of its most well-known products into something unrecognizable — that would lack business sense.