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Apple argues plaintiffs are too vague in class action lawsuit over Siri

post #1 of 30
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Apple has filed a motion to dismiss a set of class-action lawsuits, which accuse the company of falsely advertising its Siri voice assistant feature for the iPhone 4S, under the grounds that the plaintiffs did not specify exactly what claims led them to purchase the device.

The Cupertino, Calif., company was hit with several lawsuits (1, 2) against Siri this spring. The complaints take issue with the advertising campaign for the iPhone 4S, alleging that Siri does not work as claimed.

Documents filed with the court last week contain Apple's counterarguments, as noted by MacNN. The company first argues that several of the plaintiffs are "lack standing" to assert California consumer protection laws because they purchased the device and reside in other states.

"Under Ninth Circuit authority, the consumer protection laws of the state of purchase -- not the consumer protection laws of California -- govern such claims by out-of-state purchases," the motion read.

Apple also asserted that plaintiffs' claims do not establish a case because they "fail to allege any supposed misrepresentation with particularity." The company specifically mentioned a lack of information about "when [plaintiffs] were exposed to the purportedly misleading advertisements, which ones they found material, how and why they were false, or which they relied upon in purchasing their iPhones."



The iPhone maker said the claims relied on a "selective reading" of Apple's materials without taking into account its disclosures. Apple also argued that the Consumer Legal Remedies Act does not apply to software. Furthermore, the company said plaintiffs neglected to provide "the requisite pre-suit notice of an alleged breach of warranty" and chose not to take advantage of Apple's 30-day return policy.

Siri has been a prominent factor in Apple's advertising for the iPhone 4S. Two Siri-related television commercials, "Road Trip" and "Rock God," were specifically mentioned in some of the plaintiffs' complaints about false advertising.

The company's advertising efforts do appear to have had some success in the adoption of the service. A March study found that 87 percent of iPhone 4S owners use Siri at least once a month.
post #2 of 30

It looks like complaining the iPhone 4S should have been 'more mind blowinger' isn't going to fly. Thanks for playing guys.

post #3 of 30

Some customers are acting all alpha over beta software. No wonder Siri thinks some people should own a Nokis 800, just out of spite.

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post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

It looks like complaining the iPhone 4S should have been 'more mind blowinger' isn't going to fly. Thanks for playing guys.

They probably wanted Siri to call them a Rock God and the person asking doesn't play a musical instrument in a rock band, so in that circumstance, maybe Siri didn't feel that the person was qualified.  I think Siri was being sarcastic in saying that the Nokia was the best phone on the market.  Siri does have a sense of humor and is always rather dead pan in the delivery.  I think they should get permission to use the voice of Spock and HAL as options.  I am sure the Trekkies and the 2001 fans would love that.

post #5 of 30

As much as I don't think that Siri works as expected, I think this lawsuit will be thrown out since Apple had the foresight to dub Siri a beta product.

post #6 of 30
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Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

As much as I don't think that Siri works as expected, I think this lawsuit will be thrown out since Apple had the foresight to dub Siri a beta product.

That doesn't appear to be one of the defenses that Apple used - and I'm not sure it would be a particularly useful defense, anyway. The article lists the defenses Apple used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

It looks like complaining the iPhone 4S should have been 'more mind blowinger' isn't going to fly. Thanks for playing guys.

I think they need this product:
http://scoopertino.com/new-app-makes-it-easy-to-get-rich-off-of-apple/
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post #7 of 30

Judge:  "So tell me why you bought your iPhone 4s?"

 

Plaintive: "So I could sue Apple for something."

 

Judge: "Something?  You didn't know what for at the time?"

 

Plaintive: "No need your honor, I always wait to see which is the most interesting class action law suit and join in just like with previous iPhones."

 

Judge: "So what was it this time?"

 

Plaintive: "Just a minute, I have to check my notes."

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post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


That doesn't appear to be one of the defenses that Apple used - and I'm not sure it would be a particularly useful defense, anyway. 

 

Actually they did use it as it is likely one of the 'disclosures' they mention being ignored. 

 

That none of these folks live in or bought in California is probably enough to get the case tossed out of California. Let them try this in each of their own states and let the class be the buyers in their state. However that they had 30 days to return the 'defective' or 'unsatisfactory' product with zero Apple or carrier penalties is probably going to hurt them a lot. As well the timing of when they bought versus when the tv ads started and what they showed. If they bought in the say the first week but the Siri ads didn't start until week two then they can't really claim they bought because a tv ad showed them perfect working Siri etc

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post #9 of 30

Siri, find me an Apple store with glass doors that doesn't have safety stickers on it yet, and a class action attorney. 

post #10 of 30

"Apple's 30-day return policy". Enough said. If it doesn't work, then return it.
 

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Some customers are acting all alpha over beta software. No wonder Siri thinks some people should own a Nokis 800, just out of spite.

 

Honestly, you shouldn't be marketing a "beta" feature as your main selling point if by "beta" you mean that it doesn't work half the time.

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post
"Apple's 30-day return policy". Enough said. If it doesn't work, then return it.

 

Not good enough, according to our Australian friends.


See, people don't actually have to take any responsibility of their own. They can do whatever they want and then sue when things don't meet their expectations, even if their expectations of the device aren't in the feature set.

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #13 of 30

....and attorneys wonder why they are so despised as group....forever trying to find "legal" ways of extortion and perpetuating the waste of time and money for their inflated egos only to create billable hours...Pathetic.
 

post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

Some customers are acting all alpha over beta software. No wonder Siri thinks some people should own a Nokis 800, just out of spite.

 

Honestly, you shouldn't be marketing a "beta" feature as your main selling point if by "beta" you mean that it doesn't work half the time.

 

I agree with this. US law generally seems to give lots of legal wiggle room to advertisers and their "disclaimers" in cases like this though. It's basically a value judgement we've made as a country.

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jukes View Post

 

I agree with this. US law generally seems to give lots of legal wiggle room to advertisers and their "disclaimers" in cases like this though. It's basically a value judgement we've made as a country.

 

The problem I have with labeling things that they are selling (and yes, having all of the iPhone commercials feature Siri means they are selling Siri as a prominent feature) as "beta" is a complete cop-out and Apple, or any company, shouldn't be able to fall back on that as a defense. And BTW, how many average consumers even know what beta means in a software development context? I know what it means, and I also know that it certainly doesn't mean that it is something that should be the sole focus of their marketing campaign if it is only labeled that way as a disclaimer that it might not work as expected.

post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidUser View Post

Siri is one of the main features in the 4S. You just don't advertise a "beta" product as the main focal point of a product just to sell it. Shame on Apple.

 

Exactly! Google being cutsie and labeling their products as "beta" when they are giving them away for free is fine. Labeling a product you are selling as "beta" just so you won't get sued when it doesn't work as expected based on your advertising is not.

post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidUser View Post
Siri is one of the main features in the 4S. You just don't advertise a "beta" product as the main focal point of a product just to sell it. Shame on Apple.

 

Well, we're 'delusional', so what do we know.

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post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post

 

Honestly, you shouldn't be marketing a "beta" feature as your main selling point if by "beta" you mean that it doesn't work half the time.

Half the time would be difficult to prove in court.   Burden of proof falls with the plaintiff.   I'm betting that for most of the tasks shown in commercials the success rate is far higher than 50% 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Not good enough, according to our Australian friends.


See, people don't actually have to take any responsibility of their own. They can do whatever they want and then sue when things don't meet their expectations, even if their expectations of the device aren't in the feature set.

 

Now I see why Australia pays such high prices.   Distance causing expensive shipping and a bureaucratic system that will only penalize the consumers (the silly 4G thing).  Sucks to them. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post

 

Exactly! Google being cutsie and labeling their products as "beta" when they are giving them away for free is fine. Labeling a product you are selling as "beta" just so you won't get sued when it doesn't work as expected based on your advertising is not.

 

There are plenty of reasons why people by the iPhone 4s that don't involve Siri at all.    It's not about what you can guess in court it's about what you can prove.  

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post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jukes View Post

 

I agree with this. US law generally seems to give lots of legal wiggle room to advertisers and their "disclaimers" in cases like this though. It's basically a value judgement we've made as a country.

 

The problem I have with labeling things that they are selling (and yes, having all of the iPhone commercials feature Siri means they are selling Siri as a prominent feature) as "beta" is a complete cop-out and Apple, or any company, shouldn't be able to fall back on that as a defense. And BTW, how many average consumers even know what beta means in a software development context? I know what it means, and I also know that it certainly doesn't mean that it is something that should be the sole focus of their marketing campaign if it is only labeled that way as a disclaimer that it might not work as expected.

 

Sure, but I doubt that "beta" has any legal meaning, all that matters is the fine print.

 

I like the idea of requiring software to work as advertised, but if you've ever read a software license then you know that most software that you buy isn't actually guaranteed to do anything at all.

post #20 of 30

Not a direct comment on the actual legal complaint (in terms of how they worded it) but more on the spirit of the complaint.

 

1) The commercial push of the 4S based on Siri is not "beta". They are not pitching their advertisements as "we would really like Siri to be able to do all these things, and sometimes some of them work, but don't buy the 4S based on any of these ads".

 

2) Predicated on 1 above; most of the things I've tried with Siri that I've seen advertised either NEVER work, or at best work 50% of the time.

 

Who am I? A Californian with the same "accent" as Steve Jobs, so it's not like I have a difficult accent that Siri isn't used to yet. And I'm talking basic things: like reading my text or e-mail to me, which was advertised in the first commercials. I find that for me, Siri is only consistently good at one thing: setting the timer (and I do use it frequently when I cook). They really shouldn't have marketed it so heavily before they got it working better IMO.

post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzz_ball View Post

2) Predicated on 1 above; most of the things I've tried with Siri that I've seen advertised either NEVER work, or at best work 50% of the time.

Who am I? A Californian with the same "accent" as Steve Jobs, so it's not like I have a difficult accent that Siri isn't used to yet. And I'm talking basic things: like reading my text or e-mail to me, which was advertised in the first commercials. I find that for me, Siri is only consistently good at one thing: setting the timer (and I do use it frequently when I cook). They really shouldn't have marketed it so heavily before they got it working better IMO.

Things never work or at best 50% of the time?

Other than the obvious fact that giving that wide a range suggests that you haven't actually tried it or are making things up, if that's true, take your phone back for a replacement. The majority of reports suggest that Siri works very well for most people.
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post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidUser View Post
Where are the reports that Siri works very well for most people?

 

Really?

 

Quote:
Why take the phone back for a replacement? Isn't it going to be the same exact thing because it's the software and not the hardware?

 

Not if the hardware's faulty, no.

 

Quote:
 Yes, Apple has a 30-day Return Policy, but they shouldn't have wasted people's time falsely advertising a "beta" feature on a high-end phone in the first place.

 

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

 

I miss our emoticons.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidUser View Post

I was curious, so I looked it up myself..

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57398270-1/friday-poll-is-siri-as-advertised/

This was a poll from March 16, 2012..

ROTFLMAO. I hope you realize that the small percentage of people who have problems are grossly overrepresented in a poll like that. That's like polling a help desk and asking how many customers have problems with their device. Obviously, the ones who call the help desk are likely to be having problems.

How about some real evidence?

Meanwhile, read some reviews. Almost every review I've seen says, in effect, "while Siri isn't perfect, it is an amazing piece of technology and got most of our requests right".
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post #24 of 30
Apple should have Samuel L. Jackson testify, no jury would rule against him.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


ROTFLMAO. I hope you realize that the small percentage of people who have problems are grossly overrepresented in a poll like that. That's like polling a help desk and asking how many customers have problems with their device. Obviously, the ones who call the help desk are likely to be having problems.
How about some real evidence?
Meanwhile, read some reviews. Almost every review I've seen says, in effect, "while Siri isn't perfect, it is an amazing piece of technology and got most of our requests right".

 

 

So you completely brush aside an online poll and cite a couple datapoints of reviewers as an authoritative source on overall consumer experience and satisfaction. Good job champ.

post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post
So you completely brush aside an online poll and cite a couple datapoints of reviewers as an authoritative source on overall consumer experience and satisfaction. Good job champ.

 

The media jumps on absolutely everything Apple does, good or bad. They squash the good and magnify the bad.

 

A 50% success rate for Siri, if true, is absolutely pathetic, and we would have heard about it months ago. Either people are lying (by trolls skewing results, people remembering incorrectly, or Siri just actually works better than polled), people don't care (it's the media; this isn't the case), or it just doesn't matter enough to report.

 

As I think we can both throw out the middle, that leaves the former and the latter. I pose the question of why it wouldn't matter that the front-running feature of the most popular phone on Earth has only a 50% success rate. This is left for others to answer, or to consider the former. Remembering incorrectly, of course, is a perfectly valid option that I wouldn't throw out.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndroidUser View Post

Small percentage of people? I think 800 total votes so far, and on a well known source (Cnet) is a pretty good indication of how REAL Apple users think of Siri so far because I don't think Android users have that much time to skew an online poll for Apple. Here are the breakdowns..

1) 80 people out of 800 (10%) said they have had no problems using Siri in their daily use.
2) 336 out of 800 (42%) has had nothing but trouble using Siri..
3) 240 out of 800 (30%) says it sometimes work.
4) 120 people (15%) probably didn't really care about how Siri works or not because it's in "beta" and will get better.
5) 24 people (3%) had other things to say.

Need more? Here's another one, a more recent poll: http://www.imore.com/2012/04/30/siri-months-poll/

This coming from an Apple fansite nonetheless..

Good enough for you?

Not at all. Oh how I laughed!

So the first survey of 800 represents a massive 0.0023% of the 35.1 million iPhones shipped in Q2 2012 alone and the latter survey an absolutely astonishing 0.0141%!!

Truly significant results indeed! /s
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by binex View Post

Not at all. Oh how I laughed!
So the first survey of 800 represents a massive 0.0023% of the 35.1 million iPhones shipped in Q2 2012 alone and the latter survey an absolutely astonishing 0.0141%!!
Truly significant results indeed! /s

Even more important than that is the fact that the 'surveys' are not representative of anything. People who respond to surveys like that are far more likely to have problems than the average user.

Since AndroidUser is obviously confused by technology and computers, let's put it into a form he can understand. If you ask your local transmission repair shop how many Hondas have transmission problems, he will respond "all of them" since every one he sees has a transmission problem. Obviously, there's a sampling problem.

Let's see what media sites are saying:
Engadget: "Should you find yourself owning the requisite hardware to give Siri a shot, you'll probably be pretty impressed with what she can do."

Mashable "Siri has come a long way since it was first introduced as a less-accurate and somewhat incomplete iPhone app. Now it’s better integrated into iOS 5, and my immediate impression is that it’s more accurate than it’s ever been. Even in a noisy environment inside a car going 60 miles an hour, it can still understand most of what you’re saying if you hold the iPhone up to your ear. Its speech recognition isn’t perfect, and some of its errors are laughable, but in a quiet environment its accuracy is nearly equal to that of the desktop version of NaturallySpeaking running on extremely powerful processors.

BusinessInsider: "Yes, Siri Actually Works, Even If You Have A British Accent"

Guardian: "The whole point of it, as is the whole point of anything that Apple does well, is that you don't notice it's there. It will just work in a Stanley Kubrick/Arthur C Clarke kind of way"

Wired: "It’s kind of like having the unpaid intern of my dreams at my beck and call, organizing my life for me. I think Siri on the iPhone is a life changer, and this is only the beginning."

knowyourmobile.com "like with Dragon Dictation on PC, Siri can surprise with its web searching and its ability to pick the most suitable web source for a query. It can be scarily accurate, which is definitely something you could impress people with down the pub."

Venture Beat: "With Siri, the 4S becomes something much more than just a phone — it becomes a gateway to a future where talking to our computers will be as commonplace as talking to our loved ones."

And on and on and on and on.
Edited by jragosta - 5/16/12 at 7:26pm
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post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Not good enough, according to our Australian friends.


See, people don't actually have to take any responsibility of their own. They can do whatever they want and then sue when things don't meet their expectations, even if their expectations of the device aren't in the feature set.

I think that difference was that the courts decided that Apple Australia were guilty of misrepresenting their product, the law takes precedent over company's policies.

 

With regard to Siri, I think that most reasonable people would agree that Apple's adverts focus very heavily on Siri as a USP. Personally I think that promoting a Beta feature in such a way is flawed, that said, it doesn't seem to be illegal.

post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiefthinker View Post

....and attorneys wonder why they are so despised as group....forever trying to find "legal" ways of extortion and perpetuating the waste of time and money for their inflated egos only to create billable hours...Pathetic.
 

That cuts both ways... would you describe the Apple IP lawyers as thus.

 

It's a rhetorical question, please do not feel obliged to reply...

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