A report from The Information shows why Apple’s Siri lagged so many times behind its more popular rival Alexa. The Information found that a mix of incompetence, lack of vision, and mismanagement were largely at fault.
What’s more, Siri’s infrastructure was faulty from the get-go, which created additional problems over the years.
Surprisingly, the team that was developing Siri first met with the team developing Apple’s HomePod in 2015. By then, Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo had already been launched. Sources claim that Apple had planned to launch the smart speaker without Siri.
The Information also found that Siri’s infrastructure had big gaps in scalability from the start which led to major issues for years. Also, when the voice assistant was launched, its popularity beat all expectations and the system was not able to handle the number of new users. Apple needed years to fully modernize the system afterward.
Also, Siri’s code was not compatible with third-party support for years. The issue was shelved during Steve Jobs’ last years. After Jobs’ death, Apple tried to roll out the SiriKit for non-Apple developers to improve Siri, but Siri team opposed the move, citing the inflexibility of the software.
Apple’s Siri Faced Leadership Issues Too
Furthermore, there were also problems with the leadership. Siri’s unit had multiple managers starting 2011, one year before its launch. The lack of agreement between key people involved in the project caused the unit to lose vision and focus.
In 2013, Apple acquired Topsy in an effort to improve Siri. Topsy experts, however, had a hard time in working on Siri because its ‘patched-up’ infrastructure hadn’t been replaced since the software’s initial launch.
The HomePod unit only learned about Siri’s existence after Amazon released the Echo in 2014.
The good news is that despite the many delays and poor management and engineering decisions, Apple’s voice assistant could finally resolve its technical issues and move forward. Last fall, Siri’s unit welcomed Apple SVP Craig Federighi as their new leader.
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