Microsoft Says That Windows Phone Had Siri Before The iPhone 4S

Microsoft Says That Windows Phone Had Siri Before The iPhone 4S

In a recent interview with Forbes, Microsoft’s chief strategy and research officer, Craig Mundie, sat down to talk about the future of the “Kinect effect” and other aspects of the company’s business.

When asked about his opinion on the hype surrounding Apple’s Siri voice technology in the iPhone 4S, Mundie promptly stuck his foot in his mouth.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8akOCfqe-v0

Mundie said that Microsoft has had Siri-like technology on Windows Phone for over a year now. In essence, he only sees Apple’s introduction of Siri as “good marketing.” He did acknowledge that Microsoft could probably learn a thing or two from Apple in terms of marketing, which is a step in the right direction.

Like Android’s Voice Actions, Windows Phone has indeed offered voice control technology before Apple. The difference is that Siri recognizes everyday language and understands situational context, while both Windows Phone and Android only recognize a limited, pre-defined set of commands. You can orally give commands on a Windows Phone, but you can actually talk to Siri.

Mundie’s opinions eerily reflect those of Android’s Andy Rubin. Both men agree that a phone should be used for communicating with other people, not as a personal assistant. In the interview, Mundie says, “You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone. You should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.”

  • Mca7

    Who gives a shit if a company had something first if no one used it or knew about it. This is what apple does best, takes ideas and implements them in dead easy usage and mass markets it.

  • Patrick Worsham

    Steve Ballmer (into his iPhone): Siri, remind me to slap Craig Mundie when I get to work.

    Siri: Ok, I’ll remind you.

  • GregsTechBlog

    The iPhone has had voice control for years. Only with Siri, it’s natural enough to use often, with tons of commands. Who is Microsoft trying to kid?

  • cavemen

    ok if that is true then cavemen reached the moon before anyone!

  • bunnny

    Siri: Oh, I also forgot to remind you…how many times should you slap Craig? Just for the record – over slapping may cause traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety which could desperately lead to a so-called “Microsoft-Apple converting phenomenon” aka FuckU, Steve Balmer!

  • Djmann1013

    Lies.

  • kcopen

    and once again we see the difference between visionaries and followers

  • Robbie Goacher

    What bollocks. “Call NAME” or “Open APP” isn’t Siri. iOS has had such rudimentary voice commands for years, but the introduction of Siri is what has turned the simple system into a phone that understands your natural language.

  • vanmacguy

    Umm, reaching Microsoft?

    *says into Windows Phone* “text steve” *response* “ok, shutting down” “No, text steve!” “ok, shutting down”

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Most people care about cheep, cheep, NOT quality.
    Microsoft knows that.

    It is easy, it makes money …
    Well apparently NOT much money, 
    BUT it certainly gives you market-share.

    And it is all about market-share. People LOVE monopoly.

    With Apple’s crapy PR ( and almost NO adds, compared with the like of Samsung and Nokia ) people still see Apple as image and no substance.

  • Eric McCormick

    So…. the iPhone had Siri before it had Siri (even though it had the Siri app)? Claiming to have any/some voice commands means my Razr v3 had *Siri*.

  • OldRelic

    Your last sentence is the funniest thing I’ve read since Nixon’s farewell speech…thanks. Now get back to your studies. Apparently, you’re way behind…

  • Troy S

    Whatever! Microsoft! Steve Ballmer is just all BULLSHIT talks but cannot come up with any good products. Stop copying Apple. Just remember… (PC) = Piece of Crap!!!!!

  • Gregz0r1

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  • RangyG

    Microsoft didn’t say that, they got asked about siri, and he replied that they had siri-like technology… ie. voice recognition/voice commands.. which they had… 
    The low accuracy and constant mis-quoting in the articles on this blog in favor of Apple is ridiculous, and the apple fans just gobble it up without checking the facts.

  • AMER KECHLI

    Microsoft does NOT have intelligent (AI) voice commands. iPhone DOES. it’s a BIG difference. The 3GS has all these voice commands but it was not AI till the 4S. Microsoft is completely ignoring this fact and lying.

  • sir1jaguar

    People, even the First android phone (tmobile G1) had the voice recognitions – 2008, after that every single update of android OS, the quality of the voice recognition is getting better.

    SIRI wasnt invented by APPLE…

    APPLE IS A GREAT MARKETING and DESIGNING COMPANY, but NEVER an inventor or real innovator… They stole, copied and bought other inventions since they founded APPLE…

    APPLE IS NO. 1 COMPANY IN THE WORLD FOR HYPING PRODUCTS…

  • ctt1wbw

    The iPhone had voice calling before Windows Phone 7.  Voice activation and Siri are two separate things.  

  • Len Williams

    What a bunch of hogwash! Both Google and Microsoft are frantic behind the scenes trying to catch up with Siri’s AI real language technology, and they have nothing like it. The only thing for them to do right now is to try to badmouth Siri and say it’s no big deal. They’re trying to equate fixed and limited voice commands with Siri’s ability to act as a digital gal Friday. I’m sure they know the difference, but there’s no way they’ll admit that they were completely blind-sided by this, and that they haven’t even begun to get started on the R&D necessary to catch up. Siri will change the world and will spread via the Apple brand to our computers, our TVs, our homes and appliances. Voice interface will be the wave of the future, regardless of what the Luddites at Microsoft and Google are currently spouting.

  • Mac999

    The interviewer is a tool. There’s no such word as “learnings.” ironic that Forbes did a whole article on made up words in business – learnings was included in this idiot’s list of fake words..

  • macgizmo

    What most of you Fandroids & Windows Zealots don’t understand is that the vast majority of Apple fans don’t really give a crap who had it first. We only care that it works on the iPhone.

  • sir1jaguar

    People, even the First android phone (tmobile G1) had the voice recognitions – 2008, after that every single update of android OS, the quality of the voice recognition is getting better.

    SIRI wasnt invented by APPLE…

    APPLE IS A GREAT MARKETING and DESIGNING COMPANY, but NEVER an inventor or real innovator… They stole, copied and bought other inventions since they founded APPLE…

    APPLE IS NO. 1 COMPANY IN THE WORLD FOR HYPING PRODUCTS…

  • winski

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ————— L I E !!!

  • Kevin Carter

    Haha, you’re a total tool.  Apple never an inventor or real innovator?  Are you kidding?  Wake up and thank Apple for your Android cell phone.  Oh and while you’re at it, your galaxy tab.  Both of which were non existent before apple came along.

  • dale2000

    I hate to point out the obvious, especially when I have to point it out to people who really should know… but Apple ALSO had voice control before Siri.  In fact, Siri seems somewhat shoe-horned into the interface.  Take an iPhone 4, 3Gs… I’m not sure how far back this goes… but hold down the button just like you would to get Siri… you hear that familiar “Doo Doo!” sound, then you’re able to speak commands.

    It’s not like ANY of this is new, except the depth to which Siri can understand natural language — which, you’re right, Apple didn’t invent.  But they own it now.

    Look, the base of the argument is that no one can claim to have invented many aspects of any product out there right now.  Apple didn’t invent voice control, but Siri got it right. Microsoft obviously did NOT get it right, or they’d be crowing about it instead of whining. At least Google has had the humility to not try to draw attention to themselves over this…

  • dale2000

    What does crapy mean? Does it mean “like a breakfast pancake”?

    Also, you can judge the desperation of a company to succeed in a market by the percentage of ads (that’s ads, not adds) they’re playing on television relative to their (more successful) competition.   In other words, Apple doesn’t need to push their product as much because it’s already selling like hot crapes.

  • Jesse W Morgan

    Yeah and Tablet PC is just like an iPad minus the marketing.

  • Tronjheim79

    I can’t even ask my HTC Mozart running Mango to play an artist, or an album or an accurate voice search in Bing. 

  • techgeek01

    He nailed it.

    Marketing.  Google and Microsoft both essentially had “siri” before Apple.  The only thing that Siri really brought to the table was the ability to ask questions and get answers. That’s it. And in reality you can get “answers” on Google and Microsoft.  All it does is reroute it Google or Bing.  The iPhone 4S really had nothing new.  Except for Siri. And What did apple do? hammered on Siri.  Marketing.  That what it all is.  It’s amazing about the amount of Android users I know who have no idea that there is Voice Actions/Voice search built into Android.  And the reason why they don’t know is that Google dosen’t market that feature.

    If Google and Microsoft really focused on this feature, Siri wouldn’t have been this big.  But then again Apple may have been the only one who could have made it “cool”.  “You can use your voice to do things on your Google or Microsoft powered phone?  That’s so nerdy.”  “you can use your voice to do things on your iPhone?!?!?!?!  that is soo cool!!!!!” 

  • brian england

    Ugh, didn’t Google purchase Android? That’s some real innovation right there! 

  • yomilky milky

    That’s the nicest most forthcoming Microsoft defense we’ve seen – normally it’s some Ballmer cringe-inducing reaction. Anyway, I call bullshit on Windows phone voice command…M$ is notorious for releasing half-assness, whereas even in beta my 3 weeks with Siri have blown me away.

  • RangyG

    Why is this in reply to my comment? you sound like the biggest fanboy of them all with a comment like that, i dub thee “iDouche” if you want to resort to calling names. 
    I’m just stating this blog needs to get it’s fact straight, and people that gobble up these misquoted posts need to think for them selves.

  • Steven Zahl

    WINDOWS PHONE 7

    People First,

    Apps a Distant Third

  • Active8 Canada Store

    Microsoft may have had it first, but Apple made it known to the world.

  • JohnJohnJ

    But Siri really works.

  • AvoidDroid

    Why don’t you find a nice ” we just hate apple ’cause” website to spend your stilted opinions on. This site is for people who actually know, use & appreciate Apple products.
    There are plenty of other sites for deluded pc lovers like yourself.

  • Waris Misbah

    “You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone. You should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.” Thats the reason Microsoft find it difficult to innovate as they stick to old meaning of things

  • Bizarrefoodie

    Crêpes! They are called crêpes! If you’re going to correct somebody’s spelling (and with a pompous tone, no less), then make sure you don’t screw up your own spelling. Jackass.

  • Bizarrefoodie

    Problem is: Microsoft DIDN’T have it first! Stop giving them points if they haven’t scored any!

  • Knows It All

    To be have your comments considered by anyone with any intelligence, please learn to spell!
    “cheep” – cheap
    “crapy” – crappy
    “adds” – ads

  • bernhardush

    “Like Android’s Voice Actions, Windows Phone has indeed offered voice control technology before Apple.”
    What about the iPhone’s Voice Control feature? It’s been around for pretty long. It was there way back when I got my iPhone 3GS.

  • Russell_Rygh

    The top image looks fake. The ‘speak’ icon doesn’t have any perspective. Because of the way the phone is being held the right side of the icon should be smaller than the left. Mmmm odd.

  • dale2000

    I suppose it’s too late to convince you that I knew the proper spelling, and that the spelling I chose was to further mock the OP.

    But even if it wasn’t too late, I’m now amused by your reply and wouldn’t want to.

  • bonro001

    There is room for everyones opinion on this and all sites.  This is why I read the comments.  If it was limited to only a pro apple point of view it would be boring.

    Why not just listen to the discussion and make your own informed decision.

  • nanoco

    I’m afraid you are glossing over that the “Siri-like” claim is an attempt to imply equality and any difference is trivialized only to “Apple’s marketing”. This MS guy doesn’t have the guts to admit any real shortcomings of WP7 compared to iOS. Why not give real pros and cons such as we have this and they have that? Sorry but most the comments you find as ridiculous are fair because MS is dishing out the BS.

  • nanoco

    If you can’t see the BS in the MS guy’s responses, I’ll bet that your MS bias here is preventing you from thinking for yourself.

  • Kamuro

    But they guy has no clue. There is a difference between voice commands given with natural language and voice commands which need certain buzz words, or they won’t work.

    So when an uninformed guy, as the one above writes such stupid stuff down, it’s a huge pain in the ass for everyone else.

  • carlospacheco74

    The last thing people respect is companies or individuals who say “me too” when someone else does something that gets attention.

    As usual with M$ and in this case Android as well. They launched a product they let slide and didn’t put much effort into after it was released. They had something that they could have brought forward, improved but they didn’t and they were caught off guard when someone came along with a better product.

    As for the comment about what the phone “should be”… how about you let your customers do what they need to to with your product instead of dictating it to them?

  • Mark Thompson

    HAHA what facts are incorrect… They have the gd video of the M$ guy saying what the article is about???????? its not like they misquoted the guy and you had to search to find the truth. The video is imbedded in the article. You just sound like a pissed of M$ fan.

  • Aj Tk427

    Yup, I hate that dam argument!!!  Just throw it right back at them, if a phone is meant for communicating with other people, why do we need smartphones? Stop using your phone for surfing the net and use it for communicating with other people… blah blah blah, what BS argument.

  • Aj Tk427

    while I agree with you, it is about being able to voice opinion and respond which is what comments are all about, as Kamuro below says, at least make an argument with some logic to it.

    As Kamuro says, what Apple has done is very different from Android and Microsoft.  The 3GS had voice commands although limited.  Siri, allows a user to talk to the phone, in general language, not a voice command system, and Apple as usual is doing an amazing job of marketing it.

    Lets look at it another way.  So ICS on Android now allows you to unlock by facial recognition.  So what, Apple had phone unlocking first, but ah, Android has taken it to the next level and improved upon unlocking to make it more user friendly (not going to get into an argument about that)

    My point is, it’s the same argument, and I can throw it right back at Techgeek,  Google has just made facial recognition unlock cool, Apple could have done that if they wanted too.  Is that a logical argument???  Does it provide anything to the conversation?  Not really, it’s just uniformed trolling.

  • macgizmo

    I’m a fanboy because I don’t care that MS had a feature before Google and Apple that has absolutely nothing to do with a product that Apple has right now? Ok, I guess I’m a fanboy. But I still don’t care who had it first.

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    Microsoft partners had Windows tablets before Apple had the iPad, too.  Nine years before Apple, in fact.  So what?  What good did it do Microsoft?  If you have something and can’t be successful with it, then it must not be all that good.

  • RangyG

    Neither do I, All i’m saying, is that the headline is not correct. :)

  • RangyG

    fyi, I use OSX for a laptop, and android for a phone (iphone prior to that)…

    “Microsoft Says That Windows Phone Had Siri Before The iPhone 4S”
    go prove me wrong, that’s all i’m saying

  • RangyG

    Nobody is going to admit to any short falling to their product, not even apple. 
    The interview was for kinect and he got ambushed about the iPhone, he replied quite well. You expect him to praise a competitor, common….

  • RangyG

    it’s PR 101
    all marketing people BS and cherry pick what they say – even apple, 
    no ms bias here, dont jump to conclusions

  • Barbie Becker

    Even is Windows phone voice commands was on par with Siri (its not) his excuse that they had it first could be passable for most but NOT when your the chief marketing officer!  He of all people should be glossing over the fact that they had it first and weren’t able to market it if he truly believes its an equal feature!  

  • Travis Mathews

    The image isn’t a fake.  Here’s some pictures of my phone.  The article is right tho… its not as robust.  

  • Extensor Jones

    Not to mention troll bait like “The iPhone 4S really had nothing new.”. Um new chip? new camera optics?
    The argument is, techgeek01 isn’t even making an honest attempt to state an opposing opinion.

  • Steven Zahl

    Tried the WP7.  Hated the animated tiles.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    With Apple’s crappy PR ( and almost NO adds, compared with the like of Samsung and Nokia ) people still see Apple as image and no substance.
    Is that hard to understand, or your lack of intelligence ( discernment ) lead you to see it as an attack on Apple?
    Lack of intelligence is assuming that those errors equals education degree or that i have the time to properly read what i write.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    With Apple’s crappy PR ( and almost NO adds, compared with the like of Samsung and Nokia ) people still see Apple as image and no substance.

    If that is hard for your mind to grasp GUESS who is less intelligent.
    And you certainly HAVE plenty of time on yr hands, I do not!

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    No, it is stupid NO to see A tree for a forest.
    Typo as a word exist for a reason.

    Branding typo as a grammar error is stupid.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    You are not intelligent.
    You just reiterate my point. which was:

    People still see Apple as image first, substance later EVEN if apple has less Ads ( In this age even babies know what advertisement means ) and crapy PR.

    But you certainly read not much, so your brain is wired not for that type of wording.

  • Hampus

    Well the should have marketed that then shouldn’t they?

    Also as said in the article and clearly shown in that first picture what they have is something very different from Siri, what they have are voice commands (nothing wrong with that though), what’s special about Siri is that’ it isnt voice commands though but voice interpretation, it interprets what you say rather than take specific commands.

  • Richard Elms

    I understand both sides of the discussion in these comments. On one side you have Siri and its ability to understand common language rather than preset key words or lack thereof. Which is a touch of genius, being in a struggle and being able to not restrict yourself to a predefined sentence is a good thing.

    However on the functionality side of things, with a windows phone. It would be possible to search anything you wanted, text, call, email etc. Searching something outside of the predefined keywords will lead to a search which gets you to the information be it weather reports, news or sports results.

    Its two sides of an argument.. both have valid points but at the end of the day neither matter. Both companies have software that achieves a sort of similar outcome (one may be more inventive and include a better user experience than the other but so long as they work they work.. right?)

    On the topic of him replying in that way, he would and should of replied in a competitive manner. As would any company employee talking about the success of the competition. He would get it in the neck if he didn’t defend the company he stands for. If you slate him, watch the pc vs mac ad’s over again and tell me all 30 of them don’t slate Microsoft creations which were at the time deemed better by a large number of people. Where there is money to be made, there will always be competition.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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