Google Chairman Eric tells US senators Apple's Siri could pose 'competitive threat'

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and former chief executive, admitted to the U.S. Senate antitrust subcommittee that Apple's new Siri personal assistant technology is a "significant development" in search and could pose a threat to his company's core business.



The comments came in the form of a statement to the subcommittee in response to questions from the senators after a hearing in September, as noted by Neowin.net. Schmidt's remarks, however, may be best taken with a grain of salt, as letter's objective is clearly to downplay Google's prominence, while highlighting its competitors.



The executive took special care to call out Siri as a new development that might supplant Google's search engine.



"Even in the few weeks since the hearing, Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S," he wrote.



Schmidt even went so far as to cite two publications for calling Siri a "Google killer" and Apple's "entry point" into the search engine business.



In the letter, Schmidt backpedaled from a previous statement in September 2010 where he had denied that Apple and Facebook were a "competitive threat."



"My statement was clearly wrong," he said. "Apple?s Siri is a significant development?a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search."



"Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information," Schmidt added, noting that Google competes against search engines (Microsoft's Bing, Yahoo!), specialized search engines (Kayak, Amazon, WebMD, eBay), social networks (Facebook, Twitter), commercial software companies (Apple, Microsoft), mobile apps and direct navigation.



Apple unveiled Siri in October as a prominent new feature of the iPhone 4S. The software, which Apple originally purchased in 2010, is currently in beta, though, and has experienced some embarrassing outages in the first weeks of usage.







In what could be considered a confusing mixed message from Google executives, Android chief Andy Rubin dismissed Siri last month. He said he doesn't believe that phones should be assistants and doubted whether people should communicate with their phones.



To the disappointment of those who readily declare Android as a dominant winner, Schmidt denied in his letter that Google has a "dominant position in the smartphone market." He cited a recent study from research group comScore as saying that "Android operates on only 34.1 percent while Apple?s iOS runs on 43.1 percent."



In fact, his comment is misleading, as comScore's figures relate to the whole mobile and connected device market. The actual report noted that Android does have the highest share in the smartphone market, with 43.7 percent in August. That difference is largely due to the fact that Apple has an unchallenged lead in the tablet market, as Android tablets have failed to gain much traction.



Schmidt also downplayed Google's role in the search engine market, instead attributing it to hard work and luck.



"I would disagree that Google is dominant," he said after senators asserted that Google is approaching a monopoly. "By investing smartly, hiring extremely talented engineers, and working very, very hard (and with some good luck), Google has been blessed with a great deal of success."



For their part, senators maintain that Google's 65 percent market share of all U.S. Internet searches, 94 percent share of the European market, and 97 percent share of all smartphone searches give it substantial market power that approaches a monopoly.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Me think doth praise too much.



    Seriously, this is just over the top unless you're trying to hide something.
  • Reply 2 of 232
    Okay, he's talking to an antitrust committee. Does that mean Google's being searched for having a search monopoly?



    Is he claiming Siri is a competitor in this field, ending the monopoly?



    Because Siri only uses Wolfram|Alpha for conversions and whatnot. Google is still used for everything else?
  • Reply 3 of 232
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member
    Quote:

    "My statement was clearly wrong," he said. "Apple?s Siri is a significant development?a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search."



    OMG.....cry me a river.....Android had voice search before Siri...so build a better mouse trap and stop complaining.
  • Reply 4 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Okay, he's talking to an antitrust committee. Does that mean Google's being searched for having a search monopoly?



    Is he claiming Siri is a competitor in this field, ending the monopoly?



    Because Siri only uses Wolfram|Alpha for conversions and whatnot. Google is still used for everything else?



    I'm still trying to figure out what Siri queries from Google show up in the Siri screen.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by geekdad View Post


    OMG.....cry me a river.....Android had voice search before Siri...so build a better mouse trap and stop complaining.



    I don't think he's complaining so much as playing a very weak "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" maneuver.
  • Reply 5 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm still trying to figure out what Siri queries from Google show up in the Siri screen.



    As I have no iPhone 4S, I can't be sure, but from the videos, any query involving any sort of map data would be Google's. If you can ask Siri other types of Internet questions, those would be Google (or maybe from your chosen engine in Safari; again, I don't know since I don't have a 4S).



    Weather, I assume, is still Yahoo!, which that just seems really, REALLY silly at this point. I know Google doesn't have weather, but WUnderground is a great resource for that, and Apple could build a serious weather app (and new weather widget for OS X) with their features.



    Aside: And if they build a new weather widget for OS X, maybe it will fix the problem that thing has had since FREAKING 10.4.0 WHERE THE WIDGET RANDOMLY MOVES AROUND ON YOUR DASHBOARD WHENEVER IT FEELS LIKE IT.
  • Reply 6 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    As I have no iPhone 4S, I can't be sure, but from the videos, any query involving any sort of map data would be Google's. If you can ask Siri other types of Internet questions, those would be Google (or maybe from your chosen engine in Safari; again, I don't know since I don't have a 4S).



    Weather, I assume, is still Yahoo!, which that just seems really, REALLY silly at this point. I know Google doesn't have weather, but WUnderground is a great resource for that, and Apple could build a serious weather app (and new weather widget for OS X) with their features.



    Except for Maps, which is an extension of the native iOS app I can't see any other Google queries being parsed by Siri.



    Quote:

    Aside: And if they build a new weather widget for OS X, maybe it will fix the problem that thing has had since FREAKING 10.4.0 WHERE THE WIDGET RANDOMLY MOVES AROUND ON YOUR DASHBOARD WHENEVER IT FEELS LIKE IT.



    Yeah, and with Lion sometimes when I leave Dashboard — meaning, on the standard screen — I can see my stock widget names that would show up in plain text in a small yellow box when you mouse-over. Not a big deal, but still annoying. I wish they'd take a little more care of Dashboard, even allowing for a weather widget to auto-update its location based on your current location like with iOS.
  • Reply 7 of 232
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,131member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I'm still trying to figure out what Siri queries from Google show up in the Siri screen.









    I don't think he's complaining so much as playing a very weak "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" maneuver.



    I didn't think Siri used Google for anything??????
  • Reply 8 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Yeah, and with Lion sometimes when I leave Dashboard ? meaning, on the standard screen ? I can see my stock widget names that would show up in plain text in a small yellow box when you mouse-over. Not a big deal, but still annoying. I wish they'd take a little more care of Dashboard, even allowing for a weather widget to auto-update its location based on your current location like with iOS.



    Oh, when I GO to Dashboard, the yellow box underneath wherever my mouse was in, say, Safari, shows up on the Dashboard and doesn't go away until I go back out and move my mouse BACK OVER whatever it was to dismiss the box.
  • Reply 9 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by geekdad View Post


    I didn't think Siri used Google for anything??????



    While it looks like Apple will release their new Maps software by iOS 6.0 (though I think demoing it on the iPad 3 event would be an impressive show of their tech) it still looks to be powered by Google, just like the current Maps app.



    edit: Finally got Siri to show me a map. The image does say Google in the lower-left corner and does open to the Maps app when tapped, not Safari, do adds in Google aren't really an issue except for the occasional sponsored pin that appears. Nothing else I try seems to query Google.
  • Reply 10 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by geekdad View Post


    I didn't think Siri used Google for anything??????



    Even if it did, Google wouldn't be able to serve up ads throughout Siri. So they can't monetize it.
  • Reply 11 of 232
    Google's Chairman is trying to get out of an Anti-Trust probe on Google by citing that Siri threatens their Monopoly; and therefore competition is safe.



    It's a joke of an argument.
  • Reply 12 of 232
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Make your own damn AI and use it. If you can't then step aside and make way for some one else who can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Google hasn't monopolized?!?!?!?!?
  • Reply 13 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by geekdad View Post


    OMG.....cry me a river.....Android had voice search before Siri...so build a better mouse trap and stop complaining.



    Yeah, but you never hear Fandroids say "Google needs competition"
  • Reply 14 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Google's Chairman is trying to get out of an Anti-Trust probe on Google by citing that Siri threatens their Monopoly; and therefore competition is safe.



    It's a joke of an argument.



    Bill Gates gave antitrust regulators the same self-serving argument: Apple is proof Microsoft doesn't have an OS monopoly. And this was BEFORE iOS.
  • Reply 15 of 232
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,670member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Even if it did, Google wouldn't be able to serve up ads throughout Siri. So they can't monetize it.



    And this is the whole point. I love it. Apple really should get into search. They won't, but they should. Just to piss Google off.
  • Reply 16 of 232
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    To be fair, why isnt the Senate committee grilling Apple with its monopolistic market share of the Tablet market?



    Double standard?



    Dont get your hopes up too high Apple fans, because the yard stick to a competitive landscape in the eyes of the Senators is anyone having greater than 90% of any market is deemed a monopoly.



    Apple should be next on target.
  • Reply 17 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Okay, he's talking to an antitrust committee. Does that mean Google's being searched for having a search monopoly?





    Google has its fingers in so many pies that who knows what it is. but yes the notion that Google might try to use its strength as a search tool to gain in other areas isn't so nutty. Which is probably why they are having this little chat. If nothing else it might remind them to watch what they are up to or next time the talk will be much more serious
  • Reply 18 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    To be fair, why isnt the Senate committee grilling Apple with its monopolistic market share of the Tablet market?



    Because it actually isn't a crime to have a monopoly. The crimes come in how you got there and what you do afters. In particular if you use that monopoly to further yourself in other unrelated areas.



    For example, how Microsoft tried use their power via Windows to force their web browser on folks by making it a requirement that OEMs install IE and only IE on machines.



    With Apple's iPad etc it might be say if Apple yanked all Windows and wifi syncing and made it so you have to have a Mac to use an iOS device.



    But that the iPad is THE tablet of choice over all the rest is not a legal issue
  • Reply 19 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    To be fair, why isnt the Senate committee grilling Apple with its monopolistic market share of the Tablet market?



    Double standard?



    Dont get your hopes up too high Apple fans, because the yard stick to a competitive landscape in the eyes of the Senators is anyone having greater than 90% of any market is deemed a monopoly.



    Apple should be next on target.





    There is no law against having a monopoly. The problem is if you abuse that monopoly. At this stage people are just buying more of Apple's tablet because they want to; Apple isn't forcing them.



    So show us all where the abuse comes in and we may listen. At this stage your words are just fragments in the wind.
  • Reply 20 of 232
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
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