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Apple on Siri lawsuits: Throw them out and be done with it

The iPhone maker says that the claims against its Siri offering are based on "vague" claims and therefore should be thrown out by the court.

Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Apple has been smacked with a host of Siri lawsuits charging the company with overstating the abilities of its virtual personal assistant. And now, in a recent court filing, it has fired back.

In a motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple asked the court to dismiss the consolidation class-action complaint against its Siri offering, saying that the plaintiffs used "only general descriptions of Apple's advertisements, incomplete summaries of Apple's Web site materials, and vague descriptions of their alleged -- and highly individualized -- disappointment with Siri."

"Tellingly, although Plaintiffs claim they became dissatisfied with Siri's performance 'soon after' purchasing their iPhones, they made no attempt to avail themselves of Apple's 30-day return policy or one-year warranty, which remains in effect," the company wrote in its motion filed last week, but discovered yesterday by the Wall Street Journal. "Instead, they seek to take an alleged personal grievance about the purported performance of a popular product and turn it into a nationwide class action under California's consumer protection statutes.

"The Complaint does not come close to meeting the heavy burden necessary to sustain such claims," Apple argues.

Since launching Siri last year, several lawsuits have emerged with claims that the advertising Apple uses to promote the service don't match the virtual personal assistant's actual functionality.

"Through its nationwide multimedia marketing campaign, Apple disseminates false and deceptive representations regarding the functionality of the Siri feature," a lawsuit filed in March against Apple charges. "For example, in many of Apple's television commercials, consumers are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants, and even to learn the guitar chords to classic rock songs. In its advertisements, Apple depicts these tasks as easily accomplished 'just by asking' Siri."

The plaintiff in that case, David Jones, said that when he asked Siri specific questions, she often misunderstood what he asked or delivered the wrong answer. Frank Fazio, who took aim at Apple just weeks before Jones did, echoed that sentiment, saying in his complaint that "Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer."

For its part, Apple has never said that Siri is perfect, and has tagged the platform with a "beta" tag to make it clear that it's a work in progress.