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.
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.”