Microsoft had Siri for a year

Apple fans have been incandescent with rage after Microsoft’s chief strategy and research officer Craig Mundie dared to say that nothing is new in Apple’s Siri software.

Mundi said that Microsoft users have had it for more than a year since Windows Phone 7 was introduced.

He said that Siri, which means arse in Japanese, was good marketing but there was nothing new about the technology. According to Mundie, Windows 7 users could pick up their phones and say ‘text Eric’ and the device transcribes it. You can query anything through Bing by just saying the words, he said.

9to5 Mac claimed that it’s not the first time Microsoft executives stuck their head in the sand.

Steve Ballmer famously laughed off the original iPhone as being overpriced and not appealing to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, it snuffled.

Mundie is right, there is little new about Siri, but the execution is a lot better.

Mundie’s comment echoes a sentiment shared by Google’s vice president of mobile Andy Rubin who pointed out that people didn’t need Siri because a phone was used for communicating.

“Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone… To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone…We’ll see how pervasive it gets,” he said.

Rubin might also be missing the point. Siri is Apple’s main marketing push with the iPhone 4S because it needed a differentiator to advertise with, because aesthetically, it looked the same as the iPhone 4. 

Ownership of an iPhone is not about usage, it’s about showing off. If it was about using the phone for what it was designed for, more iPhone 4S users would have noticed that their batteries were draining too fast due to a software fault. Likewise, Siri is the ultimate show tool – which only has a little bit of usage before a person gets bored of it.