Verizon had deal to put Siri exclusively on Android phones before Apple bought the company

“In February 2010, three weeks after Siri debuted as an independently developed iPhone app, Dag Kittlaus, Siri’s co-founder and chief executive, received a call from a mystery number,” Bianca Bosker reports for The Huffington Post. “It was Steve Jobs and he wanted to meet. The next day.”

“Siri’s co-founders spent three hours with Jobs at his Palo Alto home discussing the future of do engines and how people could converse with machines (Jobs loved Siri’s snark). Apple quickly followed up with an interest in acquiring the young company,” Bosker reports. “‘The way that Steve described it, speech recognition — and how to use it to create a speech interface for something like the iPhone — was an area of interest to him and Scott Forstall [then head of Apple’s mobile software] for some time,’ recalls Kittlaus. ‘The story that I’m told is that he thought we’d cracked that paradigm with our simple, conversational interface.'”

“Verizon thought so, too. In the fall of 2009, several months before Apple approached Siri, Verizon had signed a deal with the startup to make Siri a default app on all Android phones set to launch in the new year,” Bosker reports. “When Apple swooped in to buy Siri, it insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices, and nixed the Verizon deal. In the process, it narrowly avoided seeing Siri become a selling point for smartphones powered by its biggest rival, Google. (Somewhere in the vaults of the wireless giant, there are unreleased commercials touting Siri as an Android add-on.)”

Bosker reports, “Its first and only app had barely been available for two full months. And now Siri — and its future — belonged to Apple. ‘It was a storybook ending — or beginning, you can call it,’ Kittlaus says.”

Tons more, including how Siri the app (before Apple bought it) shows what Apple’s Siri can become in the future, in the full article – highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: We used Siri as an app. She was like a bright, funny graduate student. The Siri we have today is like her nine-year-old cousin.

As Bosker writes: Apple is under growing pressure to use the technology it already has and turn Siri into the multitasking, proactive helper it once was. Siri’s history suggests a fantastical future of virtual assistants is coming; where we now see Siri as a footnote to the iPhone’s legacy, some day soon the iPhone may be remembered as a footnote to Siri.

Hopefully, the reason why Apple has been taking this so slowly is a technical matter – the need for huge, multiple data centers (still coming online) to properly support hundreds of millions of users – and not a symptom of internal malaise. If the latter, Forstall’s little fiefdom has since been obliterated, so we look forward to much more rapid progress not only with Siri, but with Apple apps and iOS itself.

[Attribution: AppleInsider. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


      1. Double stupid actually. Never underestimate a revitalized Apple. Tim Cook no doubt has issued a mandate for excellence at launch from now on. Like Captain Kirk in ST:WOK he was caught with his pants down (no gay jokes please) but never again. I am sorry Forstall apparently was a disingenuous team player who played fast and loose with the company’s credibility and reputation and paid the price of getting fired even if set up for life financially. What was he thinking?

  1. Siri is the first iteration of this technology. It will certainly evolve and become more accurate and capable of more activities.
    My own experience is that I have a British accent and the US Siri (where I live) has a hard time understanding me. When I have tried the UK version it work much better but then services using maps etc don’t work in the US.

    1. If you are British, then you might want to emulate Irish actor Colin Morgan, who has adorable accent, but yet is capable of making both *English* English, as well as *American* English.

      But, of course, you will have to remember your acting classes from the school years — if you participated in that.

      1. Can just imagine telling Americans that they should change their accent. Oh the double standards applied to the rest of the World. Don’t whinge when the Asians do the same when they rule the World and tell you to acquire a Chinese accent.

    1. You mean like…..SIRI could not have been done without SJ and Scott? Oh wait! It was actually done without their direction by a bunch of guys that were eventually BOUGHT by SJ and Scott.

  2. This is the unreported reality that isn’t being considered by analysts and others. Apple is setting up several “data centers” and only 2 have been openly shared. Their first is in California (I believe). The second BILLION DOLLAR SERVER FARM in in Maiden, NC. 2 new ones are being built now. One is in Prineville, Oregon and the other in China. There are others not yet in the news and Apple is testing out self contained energy options in Maiden, NC. This is necessary in world wide locations where power isn’t stable.

    Do these clueless idiots understand why Apple is doing this? Is anyone else doing this? Nope! Really, Android is the future or just Future RoadKill.

    Note to Google: SIRI doesn’t click on your customer’s ads.

  3. So hard to distinguish between fact and fiction in the media nowadays… More anti-apple propaganda or was Apple smart enough again to legally and rightfully purchase a technology it considered beneficial to it’s platform and thus to it’s user base in the long run? Either way Apple and it’s loyal users win all the way…

  4. I think my relationship with Siri is fine. Of course like all women, you have to learn how to talk to her and pay attention to how she acts and what she says.
    She’s at times a bit moody and sometimes doesn’t understand me but I’m thinking that’s pretty normal. Sometimes she frustrates the hell out of me but this seems a lot like my relationship with my wife and the women I work with. haha

  5. What, it’s been 10 min and no sign of any googelites yet! They must all still be at the gooclucksam meeting with their chief priest Larry Pages the chemist, but the chemist don’t come…

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