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Microsoft uses Apple's Siri to prop up Windows' new 'Cortana' virtual assistant

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
In a new ad released on Monday, Microsoft highlights the apparent inadequacies of Apple's Siri virtual assistant, which is pitted unfavorably in a head-to-head feature test with "Cortana," its Windows 8.1 analog.




Titled "Happy Anniversary," the commercial is done in Microsoft's recent style of leveraging Siri to denigrate Apple products, which usually puts an iPad or iPhone up against a comparable Windows device to point out their contrasting feature sets.

For its first spotlight on the Cortana virtual assistant, Microsoft chose to focus on contextual reminders, pitting Apple's latest iPhone 5s against the low-end Nokia Lumia 635 smartphone.



In the ad, Cortana is asked to set various reminders for an upcoming wedding anniversary. For example, a man asks for a reminder to tell his wife "happy anniversary" the next time they talk. Another reminder is set to buy roses when he's near a flower shop.

After each reminder is successfully set, the camera cuts to Siri, who says, "Oh no, I cannot do that," and "I can't do that either."

Finally, when it's time for the man to leave for dinner, Cortana pulls up a traffic alert showing the best route.

"Now that is a smart phone," Siri says.

Apple's Siri is capable of creating geo-fenced reminders, but the feature is limited to current iOS restrictions of "home" and "work." Microsoft's solution can pull from third-party services to inform users when they near a particular landmark or point of interest.

A report earlier in July said Apple is putting together a team of speech recognition experts for a neural network-powered Siri, which could bring faster and more accurate voice-to-text translation, as well as enhanced system-level functionality.
post #2 of 86
Might hurt if it wasn't coming from a phone with less than 2% of the market.
post #3 of 86

Sad, sad Microsoft.

post #4 of 86

I just had Siri set a reminder to tell my wife Happy Anniversary tomorrow. Worked perfectly. Not sure what Microsoft is smoking. Must have Balmer trying to speak into it... Siri only understands human, not monkey.

post #5 of 86

LOL, Windows Phone...

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post #6 of 86

Won't be long before Bing is unceremoniously dropped... LOL!

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post #7 of 86

No Microsoft you are doing it wrong...

 

If Samesung has taught us one thing to get ahead in the market it's copy the complete look of the iPhone including case and OS, then let Apple sue but keep it in the courts until the original copied phone is no longer valid.

 

Actually, I am pretty sure your old photocopy machines are still working, you should grab them from out of storage.

post #8 of 86
How many people here have actually used Cortana? I haven't so I can't speak to it. But I do like that 3rd parties have access to it (wish Siri has that). Competition is good, especially if it ends up improving Siri in the end. I'd love to see a true competitor to Google Now and would rather it be Siri than something else.

Edit: offline processing would be nice (where possible). I think Google Now has this capability.
Edited by Rogifan - 7/28/14 at 4:02pm
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post
 

I just had Siri set a reminder to tell my wife Happy Anniversary tomorrow. Worked perfectly. Not sure what Microsoft is smoking. Must have Balmer trying to speak into it... Siri only understands human, not monkey.

 

That's not what was done in the commercial...  He said to tell me to remind him next time he talked to his wife.  That means if he or she, call, text, or email each Cortana will pop up a reminder.  Siri most definitely can't do that. 

post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbi View Post
 

 

That's not what was done in the commercial...  He said to tell me to remind him next time he talked to his wife.  That means if he or she, call, text, or email each Cortana will pop up a reminder.  Siri most definitely can't do that. 

 

I think we'll be seeing some very surprising updates to Siri soon.

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post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbi View Post
 

 

That's not what was done in the commercial...  He said to tell me to remind him next time he talked to his wife.  That means if he or she, call, text, or email each Cortana will pop up a reminder.  Siri most definitely can't do that. 

I just tried exactly what the guy in the commercial asked Siri and Siri responded with my reminder. I can't be sure if it works until my wife calls me but Siri did not reject or misunderstand my command like in the commercial.

post #12 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by wigby View Post
 

I just tried exactly what the guy in the commercial asked Siri and Siri responded with my reminder. I can't be sure if it works until my wife calls me but Siri did not reject or misunderstand my command like in the commercial.

 

Post a YouTube rebuttal. You'll get millions of hits.

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post #13 of 86
I think they have Cortana running on some of the Lumias at the local MS Store, but I yet to check it out. As many others have noted, it's now really a two horse race, between Samsung and Apple, with Microsoft a distant third. And to think Windows Phone was once the market leader. Well at least Ballmer will finally own the LA Clippers 1wink.gif
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 

 

Post a YouTube rebuttal. You'll get millions of hits.

Like 99% of smartphone users, I don't have a Cortana enabled device handy. And besides, it's not my anniversary ;-)

 

Actually I tried all of the examples and they all seem to work. But if I dig deeper it's unclear if it really will work. I tried the flower store and it just repeated my command and put it in my reminder list but only when I go to the remind by location does it lets me specify a store and a radius to trigger the command. So who knows what Siri or Cortana would ultimately do in the real world. Obviously, MS wasn't forthcoming in the real responses that Siri would give from these commands.

 

Maybe Siri isn't as automatic but more granular in the options you have. Seems backwards to me. You would think that MS would be more granular and Apple's would just do it automatically without the need to dive deeper into menus and maps.

post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think we'll be seeing some very surprising updates to Siri soon.
About time.
post #16 of 86
Siri! what operating system do you run?

"I live inside your iPhone, which runs iOS."

Cortina, does your phone run iOS?

"No, I'm sorry, it doesn't. Does that mean I don't get the job? I hate that question."

[End commercial]
I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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post #17 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post
 

I just had Siri set a reminder to tell my wife Happy Anniversary tomorrow. Worked perfectly. Not sure what Microsoft is smoking. Must have Balmer trying to speak into it... Siri only understands human, not monkey.

Unless tomorrow actually is your anniversary, I would recommend you delete that reminder asap. She might get the wrong idea and telling her that someone on the Internet was wrong is not going to cut it.

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post #18 of 86
Siri isn't limited to Home or Work. I set reminders all the time for when I'm at a particular location.
post #19 of 86
Any Men should remember the Anniversary, and don't use his Mobile to remind him...
3 reasons to this logic:
1- if he don't do it at wake up: He is going to be in trouble
2- if his wife discover he is using his mobile to remember: He is going to be in trouble
3- If he wait for his wife to call to say Happy anniversary: He won't have a nice evening!!!
post #20 of 86

The fact that Samsung and Microsoft feel they have to attack Apple shows how dominant and powerful Apple really is. Way back in dinosaur days I was in sales (big tickets items involving dealing with large committees). My boss sent me to a number of professional sales seminars and Dale Carnegie courses. In every case it was made perfectly clear that the minute you mention your competitor you have lost. To mention your competitor gives them legitimacy, makes the customer think twice, indicates you are worried about them, and puts doubt in the mind of the customer who wonders why you are mentioning the competition at all. The customer doesn’t want to hear how bad the competition is from you. They want to hear how good your product is and how it will help them and solve their problems.  

post #21 of 86
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post
Cortina, does your phone run iOS?
"No, I'm sorry, it doesn't. Does that mean I don't get the job? I hate that question."
[End commercial]

 

“Wait! I’ll... I’ll sell you my body! Granted, it’s still just a virtual body, but...”

post #22 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by wigby View Post
 

I just tried exactly what the guy in the commercial asked Siri and Siri responded with my reminder. I can't be sure if it works until my wife calls me but Siri did not reject or misunderstand my command like in the commercial.


I don't know what you tried - but, I can assure you Siri - in it's current state cannot replicate the two main functionalities shown in that video.  Believe me, my friend tried to prove me wrong with his iPhone...  Contact or People based reminders will trigger anytime you communicate with that person from your phone.

 

The other feature is an improvement on location based reminders - yes, Siri does do those - but, not like Cortana.  For instance, if you were to tell Cortana to remind you to pick up milk next time you were near a Walmart, she will let you not only pick a particular store - but, you can also just say any and then it will pop up no matter what Walmart you are near. 

 

I have been using Cortana for several months now - and she rocks.  She is mostly on par with Google Now  - and both are better than Siri.

post #23 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
 

The fact that Samsung and Microsoft feel they have to attack Apple shows how dominant and powerful Apple really is. Way back in dinosaur days I was in sales (big tickets items involving dealing with large committees). My boss sent me to a number of professional sales seminars and Dale Carnegie courses. In every case it was made perfectly clear that the minute you mention your competitor you have lost. To mention your competitor gives them legitimacy, makes the customer think twice, indicates you are worried about them, and puts doubt in the mind of the customer who wonders why you are mentioning the competition at all. The customer doesn’t want to hear how bad the competition is from you. They want to hear how good your product is and how it will help them and solve their problems.  

 

It is fairly common to compare yourself to a market leader and you will find it in pretty much every industry out there, where companies want to highlight their competitive advantages.

 

Lexus vs BMW, Mercedes to highlight its higher power and lower cost

Brand x towel vs Bounty

Mac vs PC to highlight the Mac doesn't crash every 5 minutes =)

 

To be the standard being compared to is usually a good thing.  Siri has a lot of recognition, but personally I think there's a good reason MS pitted themselves against Siri instead of Now.

post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbi View Post


I don't know what you tried - but, I can assure you Siri - in it's current state cannot replicate the two main functionalities shown in that video.  Believe me, my friend tried to prove me wrong with his iPhone...  Contact or People based reminders will trigger anytime you communicate with that person from your phone.

The other feature is an improvement on location based reminders - yes, Siri does do those - but, not like Cortana.  For instance, if you were to tell Cortana to remind you to pick up milk next time you were near a Walmart, she will let you not only pick a particular store - but, you can also just say any and then it will pop up no matter what Walmart you are near. 

I have been using Cortana for several months now - and she rocks.  She is mostly on par with Google Now  - and both are better than Siri.

All short term... Siri works perfectly fine for the majority of things you really need it to do, with many great things to come. And so you are 1 of the 2 people in your city with a windows phone. Congratulations.
post #25 of 86
I like how MS is making this big Cortana push, what, like three years after Siri debuted. It may be slightly better, but I've moved on.

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post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbi View Post


I don't know what you tried - but, I can assure you Siri - in it's current state cannot replicate the two main functionalities shown in that video.  Believe me, my friend tried to prove me wrong with his iPhone...  Contact or People based reminders will trigger anytime you communicate with that person from your phone.

The other feature is an improvement on location based reminders - yes, Siri does do those - but, not like Cortana.  For instance, if you were to tell Cortana to remind you to pick up milk next time you were near a Walmart, she will let you not only pick a particular store - but, you can also just say any and then it will pop up no matter what Walmart you are near. 

I have been using Cortana for several months now - and she rocks.  She is mostly on par with Google Now  - and both are better than Siri.

Believe me, Windows and Android users need all the help they can get.

Half-baked AI is no match for good old frontal cortex resourcefulness. In the case of Siri, the baked half happens to be knowing she is no match for me. In the case of Google Now, and Cartana...whatever that is, says the consumer..., the baked half thinks of itself as being a whole. Lucky you.

As a Windows Mobile user, whatever that is says the consumer, you don't see the raw deal in being underserved whole. Lucky you.
post #27 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

“Wait! I’ll... I’ll sell you my body! Granted, it’s still just a virtual body, but...”

She has a great set of memmary modules. ;)

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post #28 of 86

Or, you know... maybe you should just remember your freaking Anniversary like a real man. Who needs to be reminded? Polygamists?

post #29 of 86

Looks like Microsoft is following Samsung's lame advertising strategy. Remember when companies with 100,000 employees actually came up with an idea of their own occasionally? Oh how the once mighty Microsoft has fallen.

 

C:\> FORMAT Microsoft /v:clueless

post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

“Wait! I’ll... I’ll sell you my body! Granted, it’s still just a virtual body, but...”

She has a great set of memmary modules. ;)

…and if you squint a little, I think you can see her Home Button.

post #31 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


All short term... Siri works perfectly fine for the majority of things you really need it to do, with many great things to come. And so you are 1 of the 2 people in your city with a windows phone. Congratulations.

 

I have no pretensions that Windows Phone has a great presence in the US - and it might never for all I know.  But, Siri is going to really need to step up her game if she is to maintain pace with either Google Now or Cortana.  Cortana is updated with new features and improvements every two weeks.  MS doesn't have to wait for the next big OS release to add features to her, and AFIK neither does Google with Google Now. 

post #32 of 86
Why does everyone keeps comparing themselves to the NUMBER TWO smartphone maker? I mean Samsung, Microsoft... don't they know that you're supposed to position your product against the market leader?

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post #33 of 86
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
Why does everyone keeps comparing themselves to the NUMBER TWO smartphone maker? I mean Samsung, Microsoft... don't they know that you're supposed to position your product against the market leader?


Wait, what?

post #34 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Wait, what?

The analysts constantly tell us Samsung is winnnnnnnnning. But from their anti-iPhone ads, you'd think Samsung has a Microsoft-sized inferiority complex.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #35 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbi View Post
 


I don't know what you tried - but, I can assure you Siri - in it's current state cannot replicate the two main functionalities shown in that video.  Believe me, my friend tried to prove me wrong with his iPhone...  Contact or People based reminders will trigger anytime you communicate with that person from your phone.

 

The other feature is an improvement on location based reminders - yes, Siri does do those - but, not like Cortana.  For instance, if you were to tell Cortana to remind you to pick up milk next time you were near a Walmart, she will let you not only pick a particular store - but, you can also just say any and then it will pop up no matter what Walmart you are near. 

 

I have been using Cortana for several months now - and she rocks.  She is mostly on par with Google Now  - and both are better than Siri.


Gumbi, you are 100% correct. I have a $49 Nokia 520 as a 2nd device to my iPhone 5s and have 8.1 installed. 

Cortana is Way better than Siri.  Apple has been very Lazy with Siri.  Google now and Cortana do 2x as much as Siri now. 

 

People that use an iPhone don't understand People and TRUE location based reminders because the iPhone doesn't do it. 

Siri can set a location based reminder based off adding your job and home address to your contact and then you can say: 

"remind me to call my wife when I leave work"  or  "remind me to call bob when I get home" 

but that's it. She can't do any "thinking" outside those parameters. 

 

In the commercial he says: "remind him to buy flowers the next time he's near ANY flower shop." Cortana will do that. Siri won't. 

You can say "remind me to ask about my brother about his dog the next time he calls" Cortana will do that. Siri won't. 

 

Siri basically hasn't seen any real functional improvements since it left behind the 2 year beta.

She might have some new witty remarks here and there, but no real improvements. 

 

I get it that people make fun of MS trolling apple, but MS gets the win on this one.

Siri is still the same as it was 3 years ago. 

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post #36 of 86
Originally Posted by r4d4 View Post

Siri is still the same as it was 3 years ago. 

 

Stick to the facts. Don’t hyperbolize.

post #37 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Stick to the facts. Don’t hyperbolize.


Name NEW features / functionality added to siri in the last 2-3 years..... 

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post #38 of 86
Originally Posted by r4d4 View Post
Name NEW features / functionality added to siri in the last 2-3 years..... 

 

Five seconds on any search engine.

post #39 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
 

The fact that Samsung and Microsoft feel they have to attack Apple shows how dominant and powerful Apple really is. Way back in dinosaur days I was in sales (big tickets items involving dealing with large committees). My boss sent me to a number of professional sales seminars and Dale Carnegie courses. In every case it was made perfectly clear that the minute you mention your competitor you have lost. To mention your competitor gives them legitimacy, makes the customer think twice, indicates you are worried about them, and puts doubt in the mind of the customer who wonders why you are mentioning the competition at all. The customer doesn’t want to hear how bad the competition is from you. They want to hear how good your product is and how it will help them and solve their problems.  

 

Further, you risk insulting the client. If you denigrate the competition, and the client LIKES the competition's product, you've just insulted their taste.

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

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V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

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V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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post #40 of 86
I always find these ads ironic.

comparing a phone that completely ripped off iPhone's design, OS and features.

It's frustrating that people don't see this.
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