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Microsoft claims it's had Siri for over a year

A Microsoft exec is unimpressed with Siri, saying Windows Phone 7 has had the same capability for over a year. Well, maybe…

Microsoft isn't impressed with Siri -- or at least, one of its execs isn't. Chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie claims Microsoft has had the same capability in Windows Phone 7 for over a year, 9to5 Mac reports.

So how does he explain the massive interest Siri has garnered? Good marketing, but no more than that.

"The Tellme facility has been in Windows 7 Phone [sic] for more than a year," Mundie told Eric Savitz from Forbes magazine. "I just think people are infatuated with Apple announcing it." He said it was good marketing, then bordered on admitting the two voice-recognition capabilities weren't quite the same, saying, "You could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows phones for more than a year, since Windows Phone 7 was introduced."

He described how Tellme could transcribe and send text messages as you dictate, and that you can look up things by speaking using the Bing search engine. But he admitted Microsoft could learn a thing or two "on the marketing side" from Apple. "In a sense, many people were disappointed with the newest phone because it wasn't a completely new thing, so the only thing [Apple] really had to hammer on was that [Siri]. So I don't know, maybe we need to pick a feature and hammer on it harder."

He's not the first competitor to pooh-pooh Siri. Google's Andy Rubin criticised it for missing the point of having a mobile. "Your phone is a tool for communicating," he said. "You shouldn't be communicating with the phone, you should be communicating with someone on the other side of the phone."

Siri has so far failed to impress us in the UK, seeing as we can't look up local services or locations yet. That should all change next year.

Are Siri's detractors right? Is it a marketing gimmick? Does it miss the point of a phone? Or are they just jealous? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.