Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

Summary: But is it as good as Siri?

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While everyone seems to be talking about Apple's Siri voice control technology, Microsoft is keen to let us all know that it has had a similar feature baked into Windows Phone for more than a year.

Here's a Forbes magazine interview with Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie where he reminds us not to be fooled by Apple's marketing:

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.

Here's the video:

But is it as good as Apple's Siri?

Well, the folks over at Australian tech blog TechAu aren't that impressed with Microsoft's 'Tellme' technology:

I don't know about you, but that comparison seems overly biased to me. A better video demonstrating the voice capabilities of Windows Phone was put together by Tom Warren of Winrumors:

Where does Microsoft thing that 'Tellme' technology is going? Here's what the Redmond giant think you'll be able to do with voice control in the future:

Pretty cool, eh? Whether any of this will ever see light of day, who knows.

Microsoft has a problem when it comes to marketing. Apple introduced Siri to the world less than two weeks before the handset went on sale, and hordes of potential buyers knew about the technology (according to a few polls, it was the technology that sold the 4S to people). Microsoft on the other hand has to remind people that they've had something similar (although not as impressive) on its handsets for more than a year.

Once again, it shows the importance of marketing.

Related:

Topics: Windows, Apple, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos

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59 comments
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  • MS (perhaps just Mundie) simply misses the point.

    The TechAU blog is 100% correct. Mundie said they had similar capabilities to Siri over 1 year ago. No, they had a pretty good voice command system and dictation 1 year ago. They had nothing similar to Siri 1 year ago. In fact, the third concept video is very close to where Siri is today and not someplace in the distant MS future. For example: I can ask Siri "What is the terminal velocity of an unladen swallow" and it will give me an answer. Not a search but an answer.

    I am betting Mundie actually takes the concept video at face value and sees (either through mis-information or delusion) TellMe like the concept video. As for the WinRumors demo, what is interesting is that Siri can use all of those commands (with the exception of opening apps) using the same grammer as TellMe. TellMe, cannot come close to using hte same grammer and context as Siri.
    Bruizer
  • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

    Microsoft has plenty of nice features in WP7, many that Apple don't have in iOS5 (XBox Live integration as an example). But they have nothing even close to Siri. By claiming otherwise they make their phone look weaker, not stronger. They should push the advantages they actually have, and not try and attack Apple where they are stronger!

    This seems like a stupid policy.

    Some will want Siri, nothing will dissuade them from the iPhone 4S - because even a limited exposure to the different voice technologies is enough to demonstrate the lead that Apple have here.

    But Microsoft not making the most of their advantages (like the XBox Live integration) and instead trying to pretend they are ahead in all areas will mean some buyers will not choose WP7 when they might otherwise have done so.

    That "future" video shows a tablet that appears to be running something like WP7, it sure as heck doesn't look like the Windows 8 beta...

    Before we dismiss the Xbox Live integration, that's a Kinect controller in the future video. Of course, future videos are just that, fiction. Microsoft need to press any advantage they have, and work on their shortcomings, making videos won't achieve anything.

    If you want to see what I mean, look at the time when Apple were making their "future" videos, then their products stagnated. Now the only videos are ones that demonstrate ACTUAL product, they just happen to look like the future!
    jeremychappell
    • " They should push the advantages they actually have"

      @jeremychappell

      100% agree. WP7 has some strong points. Office. XBox Live. Zune Marketplace for music for those that are into subscription services.

      Show us the strengths.
      Bruizer
      • WP7 does have a few features that others don't have ....

        @Bruizer .... the problem is that they are completely dumb and useless features.

        Xbox Live integration? On a smartphone? Seriously? The only people who actually care about this feature are GAME ADDICTS. It is not even attractive to hard core gamers.

        Zune Marketplace? Last I checked the brand is DEAD. The service is just temporary and will soon die due to lack of interest by users.

        The only feature that MAY be attractive to some is Office 365 integration. Some people may be interested in MINOR editing of MS Office files. iOS has iWorks ... but you must pay for it and MSO files many not be fully supported (although it supports them better than any other non MS software). On the Android side .... lets be honest, Google Apps are garbage anybody who claims the contrary is completely delusional.
        wackoae
      • zunga marketplace?

        @Bruizer
        the ultimate DMR stratagem?
        stop paying and your music vanish...
        theo_durcan
    • It isn't spin

      Sadly MS believes what they are saying. They fail to understand competitors technology, and release concept videos as if they are product launches.

      It's delussional, bizarre behavior for a company that appears without any direction at the moment.
      Richard Flude
      • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

        @Richard Flude
        Very true and why they are not considered a real play in the new mobile order. They are not a standard in this environment and can not compete on product innovation, their future looks is questionable here.
        KBabcock75
  • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

    "Microsoft on the other hand has to remind people that they???ve had something similar (although not as impressive) on its handsets for more than a year."
    Siri as an app has been on the iPhone/Touch for at least 1.5 years, maybe 2 yrs. Apple bought Siri in Apr. 2010. I seem to remember that the Siri app was sold in the App Store well before the purchase.
    Microsoft didn't advertise TellMe not because of some lack of advertising vision, but for the same reason that voice command tech on all devices has not been advertised. Until Siri, it just wasn't good enough. Also, there are many edits in the above demo of TellMe.
    zato_3@...
  • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

    Microsoft bought Tellme 5 years ago or so. They have some catching up to do for sure. I would like to see Tellme onboard and not in the cloud. MS Voice Command had always been onboard in the past. I'm not sure what Tellme gives us that is better than Voice Command was. What have they been doing in the past 5 years?
    lippidp
  • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

    Is it me or are these microsoft "hey we do that too" pronouncements are getting kind of repetitive?
    Santeno
    • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

      @Santeno

      No it's only you, and those few who mistakenly believe Apple originally invented everything.

      Apple never truly invented anything. They only re-invent, then claim original design.

      [i]~~~~~~~~~
      There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.
      ~ Indira Gandhi

      We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.
      ~ Steve Jobs
      [/i]
      WinTard
      • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

        @WinTard
        Oh "Me first" bragging is so boring. Me now is what matters to those in the market today.

        What I don't get is how Mr. Mundie thought this was going to work out well.

        If he isn't embarrassed because he might be wrong, he's embarrassed for all the money his company spent the last 12 months, emphasizing the view (and how their phone os meant you used your phone less) when it was the input method that was compelling.
        DannyO_0x98
      • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

        @WinTard [b]No it's only you, and those few who mistakenly believe Apple originally invented everything.

        Apple never truly invented anything. They only re-invent, then claim original design.[/b]


        Apple did not invent everything but they did invent quite a few things, tweaked a lot of other things, and combined a lot of those things into products that took their competitors by surprise. One of the things Microsoft is so famous for THEY did not invent either but blatantly stole. But go ahead and give Microsoft a free pass because they stole it from Apple.
        athynz
    • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

      @Santeno : errr. Because Apple sends out false reports/advertising saying that nobody else has features that the iPhone has.
      Gisabun
      • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

        @Gisabun generally Microsoft needs years to make a product work as advertised. Kind of like the tablet market, after a decade of Microsoft failing Apple shows up and sells more tablets in quarter, than the sum total of all windows tablets over the last decade.
        Rick_Kl
  • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

    I don't know why people think Siri is so good, it is average at voice recognition.
    slickjim
    • Not that I think Siri is anything huge ...

      @Peter Perry but there is a huge difference between voice recognition and actual voice activated AI that RESPONDS to what you are asking.

      MS talks about having it 1st .... they didn't. Both iOS and Android had "voice recognition" (as in voice activated features) for years before WP7 was released. But Siri is more than just voice recognition.
      wackoae
      • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

        @wackoae <br><br>Tellme is not just voice recognition either. MS did not claim they had voice recognition first in this video. They simply state that Tellme has been in WP7 for over a year and has similar capabilities to Siri, both of which are true. The problem is that people twist it and start to argue stuff without actually understanding the facts.<br><br>Does WP7 Tellme have similar capabilities as Siri? Yes. You can have simple conversations with WP7 for certain things, even locally on the handset without a data connection to the Tellme servers.<br><br>Is WP7 Tellme currently as good as Siri? For some things, yes. For other things, not even close. That is the truth. Therefore Microsoft can legitimately claim that they had Siri-like capability for over a year, because they did. It's just that Siri is more advanced in it's capabilities.
        wp7mango
    • Because Siri is light years ahead of the next closest thing.

      @Peter Perry

      It is that simple. I know you hate all things Apple with ever fiber of your being but saying Siri is average is laughable.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Microsoft: Don't forget, we've had voice control in Windows Phone for more than a year

        Removed comment myself. Hey, I can be wrong. Peace.
        TechNickle