Eric Savitz

Tellme fail: 'Swingers swap sex partners in prudish Singapore'

November 26, 2011: 9:48 PM ET

Microsoft's claim that its voice command system is Siri's equal is put to the test 

Click to view the video. Source: TechAU

You might think that Microsoft's (MSFT) Chief Research and Strategy Officer would have spent some time playing around with Apple's new intelligent personal assistant before making the claim -- as Craig Mundie did earlier this week -- that there's nothing to Siri but clever marketing and the usual mindless fascination with anything Apple (AAPL) chooses to sell.

"As a technological capability," he told Forbes' Eric Savitz on the record -- and on camera -- "you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows phones for more than a year."

It took TechAu's Jason Cartwright less than two minutes to shoot that one down. In a side-by-side voice-off, he issued simultaneous commands to an iPhone 4S running Siri and a Windows Phone 7 system running Tellme and posted the results on YouTube.

Siri passes with flying colors, correctly decoding Cartwright's instructions and briskly doing his bidding. Tellme doesn't just fail, it fails spectacularly.

  • When Cartwright says "Create a meeting tomorrow at 10 a.m.," Tellme hears "create a meeting tomorrow at teen anal" and turns up an article entitled "Swingers swap sex partners in prudish Singapore"
  • When Cartwright says "Send a text to Simone," Tellme hears "Stain detector simo" and finds:"Femtomolar Concentration Detection Limit and Zeptomole"
  • When Cartwright asks "What time is it in Perth?" Tellme hears "what time is it impo" and delivers: "Term Paper on What Is Art And Why is it impo"

Perhaps Tellme was having trouble with Cartwright's Australian accent, although with a year's head start Mundie's research team had plenty of time to work on that.

Or maybe Mundie mistook Tellme's actual capabilities with the promises made in Microsoft's marketing video, below, in which Tellme practically plans a best friend's wedding all by itself.

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