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Why is Siri struggling? Report cites infighting and lack of vision

Why is Siri struggling? Report cites infighting and lack of vision
[Photo: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns]

Although Apple’s Siri is the most widely used virtual assistant with more than a half billion monthly active users, it’s been shown up over the past few years by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, especially in smart speakers. And according to a new report by The Information‘s Aaron Tilley and Kevin McLaughlin, which cites a dozen former Apple employees, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

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A few highlights:

  • Employees say Siri was rushed to market and was built on a technically flawed foundation that Apple is still trying to fix. (“When Alexa shipped, it was rock solid from day one,” one former Siri team member said. “For Siri to get there, they almost need to set everything aside and start over.”)
  • Siri’s biggest proponents inside Apple were Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall, and without them the product languished in the hands of a revolving cast of middle managers. (“When Steve died the day after Siri launched, they lost the vision,” one ex-employee said.)
  • Third-party support remains a major trouble spot for Siri. Although Apple has toyed with the idea since 2012, SiriKit for developers didn’t arrive until 2016, and the report says several senior engineers behind the effort have since “left Apple or moved off the project.”

Check out The Information‘s story (subscription required) for more details on Siri’s struggles.

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