What you need to know
- Cortana skills will no longer be available in the upcoming updated Cortana experience on Windows 10.
- Cortana will instead focus on productivity.
- Microsoft says that "some consumer skills including music, connected home and third-party skills will no longer be available."
Cortana skills are leaving Windows 10. Microsoft announced that a new Cortana experience is on the way that focuses on productivity. The updated assistant will be able to do things like find information across Microsoft 365, help manage your schedule by giving you insights about your meetings. While Cortana will gain functionality in this update, it will lose support for Cortana skills.
Cortana skills allow you to control things and perform tasks. Some of Microsoft's top picks for skills include Xbox, FitBit, Phillips Hue, Spotify, and SmartThings/Samsung. Following the update to the new Cortana experience, Cortana skills will no longer work. Microsoft states in its announcement post of the upcoming update that "some consumer skills including music, connected home and third-party skills will no longer be available in the updated Cortana experience in Windows 10."
Microsoft's use of the word "some" is interesting here. It implies that only some consumer skills are going away, but then lists music, connected home, and third-party skills. It doesn't seem like there are any skills left once you exclude these.
In addition to Cortana skills no longer working on Windows 10, Microsoft also announced that its ending support for Cortana on older versions of Windows and that it will remove Cortana from Microsoft Launcher by the end of April.
Microsoft frames the change to a productivity-based assistant as a positive, stating, "We're excited about how these updates to Cortana will help you stay on top of things, save time and do your best work." Despite Microsoft's positive focus, some will take this news negatively.
Updated February 28, 2020: In a statement to ZDNet, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that you'll still be able to control smart home devices and speakers with the Cortana apps for iOS and Android. However, this same capability won't be available through the new Cortana app on Windows 10 when the 20H1 update ships. This leaves some users in a bind, as the Cortana apps for iOS and Android were discontinued in some markets at the end of January.