Apple’s Siri makes Google and Microsoft look foolish; begins to cast shadow over the industry

“Apple has just introduced voice as a major user interface and that its use of voice coupled with AI on a consumer product like the iPhone is going to change the way consumers think about man-machine interfaces in the future,” Tim Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions. “I have two theories about [Google]s and Microsoft’s] response[s] [downplaying Apple’s Siri]. One is based on jealously and one that is future driven, based on what Siri really will become very soon and its ultimate threat to their businesses.”

“The first has to do with the fact that both companies have had major voice UI technology in the works in their labs for a long time. In the case of Microsoft I was first shown some of their voice research back in 1992. In Google’s case people in the know have told me that they have had a similar project in development for over 7 years. And in both cases they are way–way behind Apple–especially in Siri’s AI capabilities and speech comprehension technology,” Bajarin writes. “You can bet that if they were the one’s announcing a breakthrough voice technology they would be touting it as loud as possible. Instead they are downplaying it and to be honest, making real fools of themselves and their companies in the process.”

“But the real reason these two companies hate Siri is because of what it will become in the very near future,” Bajarin writes. “Siri is actually on track to become the first point of entrance to ‘search’ engines of all types tied to major databases throughout the world. And it will become the gatekeeper to all types of searches and in the end control what search engine it goes to for its answers. When it grows up, it will be the front end to all types of searches conducted on iPhones, iPads, Mac’s [sic] and even Apple TV. And, if I were Google or Microsoft, perhaps I too would be playing down the impact of Siri since they know full well that it is not just a threat to their product platforms, but to their core businesses of search as well. In fact, they should be quaking in their boots since Apple is taking aim at their cash cow search businesses with their technology and could very well impact their fortunes dramatically in the future.”

Read more in the full article here.

Roger Kay writes for Forbes, “If Siri takes a user straight to OpenTable, why ask Google anything about where to eat? It turns out that the major databases people really care about are pretty finite: weather, food, maps, entertainment content, and a few other things.”

“With Apple’s platform taking yet another leap ahead of the pack, not only will Google’s and Microsoft’s empires suffer, but content owners, whose databases Apple would like to tap, may also find themselves forced to do business on Apple’s terms,” Kay writes. “All this raises one big question. At what point will the U.S. government begin to perceive Apple as a black hole, which, in sucking in the rest of the industry, has become a detriment to consumer choice? If the federal authorities deem Apple anticompetitive, it will have to beat the rap or change. Meanwhile, look out everyone else!”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last week: The Siri-less are scared shitless. And rightly so.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Karla S.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Morgenthaler says Apple’s iPhone 4S Siri is ‘seriously underrated’ (with video) – October 21, 2011
Nervous Google and Microsoft bad-mouth Apple’s revolutionary Siri – October 21, 2011
Apple debuts first iPhone 4S Siri television ad (with video) – October 21, 2011
Android chief not interested in turning Android devices into personal assistants – October 19, 2011
iPhone 4S’s snide, sassy, amazing Siri has plenty to say – October 18, 2011
Ars Technica reviews Apple iPhone 4S: A Siri-ously slick, speedy smartphone – October 18, 2011
Bajarin: Apple’s iPhone 4S with Siri launch a pivotal moment in tech, but many missed its significance – October 17, 2011
Apple gave Siri AI personal assistant its edge – October 16, 2011
PC Magazine reviews Apple iOS 5: The best phone and tablet OS, Editors’ Choice – October 15, 2011
PC Magazine reviews Apple iPhone 4S: Editors’ Choice – October 15, 2011
Wired reviews Apple iPhone 4S: The ‘S’ stands for Siri, a life-changer, the reason people should buy this phone – October 12, 2011
USA Today’s Baig reviews iPhone 4S: Apple takes world’s finest smartphone to even loftier heights – October 12, 2011
WSJ’s Walt Mossberg reviews Apple iPhone 4S: Siri artificial-intelligence has to be tried to be believed – October 12, 2011
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Apple iPhone 4S: Conceals sheer, mind-blowing magic – October 12, 2011


  1. Why did the author use an apostrophe to make the word “Mac” plural?

    Professional writers should know better than that. Apostrophes are used to show possession (This is Tom’s book.), NOT to make words plural. They are also used in a few other special cases.

    I cringe every time I see this. I first noticed this bad habit of making words plural by adding an apostrophe + “s” during the 1970s only in certain regions.

    Now, it seems to have infected all of the English language. But it is incorrect.. Plurals are normally made by adding an “s” (or “es”) to a word, but NEVER by adding an apostrophe.

    1. I think you’re wrong on this. Apostrophe’s are symbols to help comprehension. They signify lost letters in contractions (don’t) and possession. They also can be used to make words plural that would look confusing without an apostrophe, as when someone is making numbers plural (6’s) or months (December’s).

      It’s rare, and since it’s a judgement call people’s opinions will differ, but slight overuse hardly reduces understanding.

      1. I have to agree with DeltaNick. Use of apostrophes for making plurals is incorrect and spreading like a virus. It is not correct for numbers or months. The exception is single letters. For instance, the Oakland A’s.

        1. Interesting. So you agree with DeltaNick, but you also agree with me — that there are exceptions and that apostrophes can be used in rare cases to make a word plural that would look strange with just an “s” or “es”.

          As Wikipedia correctly states in the section “Apostrophe”:
          The marking as plural of written items that are not words established in English orthography (as in P’s and Q’s, the late 1950’s). (This is considered incorrect by some; see Use in forming certain plurals. The use of the apostrophe to form plurals of proper words, as in apple’s, banana’s, etc., is universally considered incorrect.)

          But yes, we all agree that using an apostrophe to make normal words plural is generally a mistake that leads to a slowing down of comprehension rather than an increase, which is the goal of grammar.

      1. Indeed. As much as we my cringe, the best we can say is that we’d like it to be some way. E.g. I’d really, really, really like just about everyone to stop the toothache-inducing, “There’s seven people waiting”, and the nauseating, “Microsoft is going to loose market share.” Unfortunately, for my sensitive nature, these usages are widespread. (And if you don’t know what’s wrong with both of those, we are truly doomed. Civilization in teetering on the brink.)
        Since the first attempt to write a PRESCRIPTIVE grammar of English, based in the cleanliness of the dead language Latin, every attempt has failed – because the target keeps moving. DESCRIPTIVE is reality.
        So, as in the failure by L’Académie Française to keep the un-french “television” out of the French language, “correct” is, unfortunately, temporary and relative. The criterion, perhaps, becomes a preference for clarity and the avoiding of degradation of meaning.
        So, in spirit I’m with DeltaNick, but I also have to agree with Nerd Beautiful.

    1. I was wondering about that too? Since when did search become MS’s (apostrophe used to signify possession) core business? If you cannot get something so fundamental as to what is MS’s core business is, you do not belong writing about the tech industry.

      1. Never mind. Safari search is acting weird and not finding things today.

        (Is it just me, or is Safari 5.1.x a big step backwards in stability, usability, and all that good stuff?)

        1. Safari 5.1.x is indeed a step backwards. Sad when something that “just works” starts getting worse and worse with each new version. This is happening to Safari.

        2. You’re not the only one. A number of bloggers have noted it.

          I’ve had to lean on FireFox as my main browser because of it. I have read where a number of others have switched to Chrome (I have privacy concerns regarding GOOG and so haven’t gone that way).

          I expect AAPL will fix it before too long. But given how many browsers I keep open, I can’t afford that instability. I’ll likely switch back once they get it back to reliable. I typically use 75% Safari, 25% Firefox, but that’s now 90% Firefox, 10% Safari.

  2. “Anticompetitive”?

    If Apple will be considered “anticompetitive” for introducing Siri, then Karl Benz could be called anticompetitive for inventing a car (sorry, Mr.Obama, cars were not invented in the USA).

    Steven Jobs liked Mercedes-Benz not only because of innovations, design and quality, but also because the manufacturer (now called Daimler) is actually original inventor of the concept itself.

      1. Before the failed merge with Chrysler, the company was called Daimler-Benz, but after parting way the manufacturer is called simply Daimler.

        Under Mercedes-Benz I meant car, not manufacturer (there was never such company).

  3. “If the federal authorities deem Apple anticompetitive, it will have to beat the rap or change.”

    I think that explains why Steve had seemingly taken a more conservative turn in his last years. He saw firsthand what it was like to have liberal Democrats in charge of government when you’re running a highly successful corporation.

    Thankfully Apple won’t have to worry about that problem much longer.

      1. When you’ve got the country’s leader speaking of people who’ve “made enough”, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine him taking action against a company that’s been “too successful”, either by restricting its opportunities (to “give others a chance”) or through outright confiscation to “share the wealth”.

        1. There’s a difference between “making enough” through corruption and cheating, versus valid competitive actions.

          Microsoft was nailed for the former by the “liberal” Democrats at the time. Apple does the latter.

          1. Obama didn’t qualify that statement with any specific conditions. He stated it plainly. Don’t try and force an interpretation that makes his words look commendable. The bottom line is that it’s a dark day when we have a President of the United States of America who’d dare tell us how much money we should make.

  4. “People are not spending there time searching…we’ve got all the data, we know this…their spending there time in apps. So for whatever reason if people want to find out that restaurant to go to their not going to their search engine and typing in Japanese in Palo Alto their going to yelp or whatever app they want to go to.” – Steve Jobs at D8 Conference

    Quoted – And with Siri, it just got better 🙂

  5. I haven’t seen enough attention paid to the effect that Siri will have on the PC industry when it is added to the full line of Macs (next year?). The impact on Microsoft’s sales and public image may be a tipping point. Especially after Microsoft releases some embarrassingly dysfunctional product that tries to ape Siri and fails.

  6. Xbox Kinect has brought Voice to the living room where people will actually use it. I will NEVER use voice on my iphone while walking around in public; That’s just stupid. In the privacy and comfort of my own home, however, voice on Kinect makes sense.

    1. Oh yeah, imagine how stupid you would look, talking into a phone! But it feels perfectly natural yelling at your television?

      I look forward to the day when I can substitute the Siri voice with a wide variety of digitized voices, including Jobs’.

      1. Texting while driving is also dangerous and supremely irresponsible behavior. I am generally about as anti “law and order” as you can get, but the punishment for texting while driving should be whatever it takes to get people to think twice before doing it.

  7. Apple is anti-competitive. We should make Apple illegal and destroy all technology and any type of progress and round everyone up to take their possessions and ensure that they have no rights. Let Google and Microsoft and China and the terrorists run the world, because they are good and Apple is bad.

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