Ex-Apple executives snipe on Twitter following Siri launch account
The day after an account surfaced that laid out the troubled history of Apple's Siri feature before, at, and after launch, a few of the report's key players are arguing about it on Twitter.
The piece, authored by The Information's Aaron Tilley and Kevin McLaughlin, detailed various stories of behind-the-scenes turmoil before, during and after Siri's launch, which the story argues has led to Siri falling behind its competitors to various degrees.
Jessica Lessin, the founder of the Information, tweeted a link to the article Thursday, while including a quote from former top Apple executive Richard Williamson about how "after launch, Siri was a disaster.. it was slow, when it worked at all. The software was riddled with serious bugs. Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team, certainly not me."
This led to a response from a member of that original Siri team, Dag Kittlaus, who was cofounder and CEO of Siri before Apple acquired it, fired back. And he was sure to bring up William's greatest career embarrassment, Apple Maps:
This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays.— Dag Kittlaus (@Dagk) March 14, 2018
Kittlaus wrote in a subsequent tweet that "Siri wasn't perfect but it was the first of its kind and set a completely new bar for conversational assistants that, ten years later, every top tech company is attempting to replicate and dominate." Journalist Brian X. Chen, now with the New York Times, backed up Kittlaus' side:
As an early reviewer of the iPhone 4S, I definitely remember Siri working great at launch - especially when only about a dozen of us reviewers were grilling it with questions. It wasn't until a huge amount of people started using Siri that it had reliability problems. https://t.co/068MdSVeG6— Brian X. Chen (@bxchen) March 15, 2018
The Information's piece, which relied on a dozen anonymous sources, laid out a history of how the Siri product was rushed forward before it was ready with the launch of the iPhone 4S in 2011, which coincided with the passing of Steve Jobs the same week of its unveiling. Also alleged in the account is that the Siri team has lacked strong leadership since launch, and that the product has fallen behind Amazon's Alexa in part due to its failure to sufficiently court the developer community.