Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie spoke with ForbesÂ last week, and he had some interesting things to say regarding the iPhone 4S’ virtual assistant. Apparently Mundie is less than impressed with Siri, claiming that the technology is nothing new. In fact, he goes so far as to say that Windows Phone has been offering a similar service called Tellme for over a year!
These are some pretty big claims, especially since the rest of the world has praised Siri as an innovation in voice recognition tech. Even still, Mundie insists,
“The Tellme facility’s been in the Windows 7 phone for more than a year…Â In a sense, you know, many people were disappointed with [Apple's] newest phone because it wasn’t a completely new thing, so the only thing they really had to hammer on was that feature…Â Maybe we need to pick a feature and hammer on it harder.”
I mean, are you kidding me? Without bringing up any of WP7′s other shortcomings, it seems quite remarkable to me that Microsoft would have a feature like Apple’s Siri and not devote a single dollar of advertising money to let people know it exists. If this is true (and that’s a huge ‘if’) why on Earth would anyone think marketing those awful live tiles would be a better idea than a voice-recognition service equipped with artificial intelligence?
And speaking of live tiles, Mundie thinks it might be a good idea to “pick a feature and hammer on it harder”? I guess he hasn’t seen any one of the countless WP7 commercials that feature those freekin’ live tiles… I’m not quite sure there’s a way to hammer on them any more. They didn’t look good the first time I saw them, and they didn’t look good the 50th time.
Now please don’t think this is a defense of Apple. I’m well aware of everything in iOS that was “borrowed” from other mobile operating systems. But the simple fact is that Siri is not one of those things. Some form of voice control has been available on cellphones for years, but Siri’s AI took that to a whole new level. Tellme more closely resembles the basic speech functions found in iOS 4 and below.
Check out the demo below and let me know what you think. Do you agree with Mundie, or do you see things from my point of view? Comment below or hit me up on twitter!