Since Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S last month, everyone has been talking about one thing: Siri. The lovable assistant is the product of over 40 years of artificial intelligence research and the US CALO program (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes).

Siri isn’t apparently exclusive to Apple’s handset. Microsoft’s chief strategy and research officer Craig Mundie recently told Forbes that Microsoft has had similar voice control tech on its Windows Phone platform for more than a year!

We know, we didn’t see that one coming either…

Here’s what Mundie told Forbes in a recent interview:

“People are infatuated with Apple announcing it. It’s good marketing, but at least as the technological capability you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows Phones for more than a year, since Windows Phone 7 was introduced.”

Right. It’s amazing to us that someone in such a high position at such a prominent company could make such an ignorant comment. For an example of just how dissimilar the two features are, here is an excerpt of a Windows Phone review from PCWorld:

“For example, I spoke a text message to someone saying, “How are you liking your nursing job over at Beaumont?” It came out translated as “How you liking your word nutjob over moment?” Something tells me my friend won’t understand what the hell I’m talking about.

To get the best possible results using the voice commands and speech-to-text features, speak very clearly, and eliminate as much background noise as possible–like the radio, or other people talking.”

That doesn’t sound like the same feature that Scott Forstall demoed on stage in front of a crowded auditorium at Apple’s iPhone event last month. On top of that, Windows Phone’s voice command feature can’t interact with its user or other applications. For instance, it won’t open up the clock application and set an alarm for you. It also can’t set location-based reminders.

In fact, there’s a lot of things Microsoft’s voice command feature can’t do that Siri can. You can see why it was a bit of a stretch (to say the least) for Craig Mundie to compare it to Apple’s voice-controlled assistant. Same goes for the Android fans that keeps insisting Siri is just another voice-to-text robot.

Siri’s abilities aren’t just limited to a list of speakable commands. She understands normal, everyday language. She can even remember names, birthdays, and other important information.

Sure, Apple was a little late to the voice control party. But that’s because, as usual, it was taking something that had been done half-assed everywhere else, and making it great.

[image via anandtech]

  • well said!

  • Sounds like something from an “I’m a Mac” ad.


  • Nutjob !!!! I think this should be in the post before this one…lol….

  • Kudos to Siri.

  • Siri aint the big deal anyways… is a voice decoder for WolframAlpha and nothing more.

    • Anonymous

      Indeed. Siri is WolframAlpha with Voice Recognition, which by the way isn’t REALLY necessary. I mean, how many people actually used the Voice Control feature on the 3GS?

      • Ever since Ive had an iPhone I’ve always used the voice control for calling even in a public place. And with Siri it is even better. IDK why everyone hates on Siri for being the same as what people have always had forever. Isn’t the point of updates and upgrades to make life easier and simpler?

  • pony crest

    Is mircosoft talking about the paper clip that helps you out?

  • Anonymous

    There are some days spinning the company line can be a humbling experience. Nobody is immune. For instance: The look on Ballmer’s face every time he is being interviewed at a product launch when his product is compared to (and usually out-shined by) a competing Apple product is hard to watch. I often have to look away.

  • Anonymous

    I actually found Android to be quite good at formulating speech into text.

    • It is, but not as doing anything really useful with it.

      Speech to text works great on android.. but that is it.. Speech to text… Not speech to action! Which is what Siri is all about.

  • Fuck ye!

  • This is the best closing statement;

    “Sure, Apple was a little late to the voice control party. But that’s because, as usual, it was taking something that had been done half-assed everywhere else, and making it great.”

    People just don’t get Siri. I have less stickies laying around the house and office because if Siri. Thank you Apple for bettering Siri.

  • Anonymous

    I understand what you mean but seriously, this just looks like a post from a mad fanboy. I love apple but it’s true they are ALWAYS last to join the party. Just proving that apple copies it’s competition just like its competition copies apple.

  • Didn’t Microsoft have a mock funeral for the iPhone ? Wow I guess apple must be a vampire cuz they can’t die!!

    • Gdghgfgjy Ggjffv

      Vampires die when you take them out of their sleeping boxes in the sunlight

  • This talking to machine thing never worked, same like video calls…you play a little like a toy and never use it again…

    We have had video calls since the 80´s and where is it now? Probabily the same happens to voice recognition…that is the way things are…

  • that’s what I thought first when Siri was launched on my birthday but after I’ve watched a video of Microsoft’s voice recognition, I thought “Siri makes it look like Microsoft appointed a inexperienced developer over their voice recognition… It’s too robotic.” Microsoft may have it for over a year but Siri owns Microsoft’s voice recognition 😀

  • Anonymous

    uh… what about voice control who came on earlier versions of iOS?

  • Siri isnt that great, get over it

  • That was awesome!! Great article!

  • runewake2

    This post reeks of ignorance on the authors part. You may never compare a keynote demo to a test by a magazine. The demo is always heavily tested wheras the magazine (in this case) was not. That is like saying apples and oranges are fruits and when a fruit vendor demoed his apples they tasted like apples. But when I went and bought a fruit from a guy down the street it tasted of orange. That entire argument is invalid. Even my apple fanboy friends laughed at that comparison.

    Furthermore, Siri has finished dead last in every voice recognition test.

    I’m getting tired of this crap flying about the internet posted by fanboys who are out to do nothing but prove a point. This serves only to prove that microsoft had a point. Apple has done one hell of an advertising campaign. It’s the same with their retina displays. Nobody cares that it is worse in almost every way to most other phones at that price tier. They saw an ad on the TV.

    Please do your research the next time you write.

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