BACK WHEN the world was new, before Alexa became the de facto way to plant eavesdropping devices in your crib, Microsoft still believed that it was Cortana that would triumph.
So much so in fact that it teamed up with boilermakers Johnson Controls to make GLAS, at the time (and probably forevermore) the only Cortana powered thermostat.
Fast forward to now, and owners of the GLAS have been getting some pretty rubbish news. Cortana integration is being removed from GLAS. Oh, yes, the thing that made it a Cortana thermostat is being removed.
The letter explains: "Moving forward, you will still have access to other voice assistants to control your thermostat through the Works with the functionality of Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant."
So just to be clear, it's still a smart thermostat. Arrangements have been made. But chances are if you bought a GLAS, it's because you wanted to use it with Cortana - it's not the cheapest or the best otherwise and its ecosystem is somewhat limited because the integration was supposed to be done by… you guessed it, Cortana.
This move is yet another example of Microsoft's attempts to cut its losses with Cortana, which used a risky-in-hindsight strategy of piggybacking on your existing Windows and Xbox devices, denying plastic-hungry punters of a shiny new toy.
As it turns out, the thrill of asking your Xbox to make a fart noise isn't as appealing as a small lump in the corner of the room and Microsoft has been downplaying Cortana's importance for a while now.
It has already separated it from the search functionality in Windows 10 and is about to be removed from Xbox devices. Its future is assured, however, with Microsoft now touting it as a skill for other voice assistants like Alexa, rather than a voice assistant in its own right. μ
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