Harman Kardon Invoke Cortana speaker now useless, cant even set timers

Two years ago Microsoft introduced the  Harman Kardon Invoke Cortana-powered speaker for $199. That price did not last long, and a year later Microsoft was clearing it for $100. The speaker featured high-quality speakers and despite lacking the wide range of 3rd party skills could do the basics more than well, due to Cortana integration.

Microsoft recently announced however that they are pivoting Cortana to business and productivity and would remove a number of consumer features for Windows 10 20H1 such as:

  • Bing Instant Answers
  • Jokes and other assistant conversations.
  • Timers

It seems more than Windows 10 users are affected however, as many Harman Kardon Invoke users are complaining that basic skills no longer work on their devices.

One user complained:

Since yesterday neither of my HK Invokes (I have several) creates reminders or adds to lists anymore. Saying “remind me to” or “add to list” gives “Sorry, I can’t help with that”. Music, weather, and regular searches work as expected. Is there a backend problem? I’ll be resetting one of my Invokes to see if the problem goes away, but has anyone else noticed this?

UPDATE the plot thickens: “Alexa, open Cortana” isn’t working on my echo devices.

Another note:

I’m in the US and no skills are working for me except on my laptop and desktop. Both Invokes are next to useless.

A third said:

Ditto for me. Both of my Invokes are dead paperweights. A few users have posted similar experiences to Microsoft community forum.

That thread at Microsoft Answers does not include any useful advice from Microsoft but many more users complaining.

Given that Microsoft is making back-end changes to Cortana, it seems, like most other Microsoft hardware adventures, the Cortana speaker’s days are numbered.

Are any of our readers affected? Let us know below.

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