Microsoft has had a ‘Siri’ long before Apple

Apple has the Siri. And Microsoft? Well it has had a ‘Siri’ long before the Apple one, called as Tellme. In a chat with Eric Savitz from Forbes, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie talked a bit about Kinect and Siri. According to Craig Mundie, Microsoft has had Speech-recognition features for over a year now in windows Phone 7 devices and more lately, in Mango handsets. “You could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows Phones for more than a year“.


The Tellme feature in Windows Phone Mango devices has been updated with a few more capabilities which Siri also shares on ground level. However, Microsoft has plans to take this to a new level in upcoming devices by enabling the Tellme, which now looks more like a command-driven tool, to interact with the user just like any other one. 

Coming back to Siri, Apple did not have much new to offer in the iPhone 4s device except for the Siri. And it’s this winning card on which Apple focused their marketing resources primarily. On a contrast, the Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) devices have a whole load of new features and capabilities (500 in number) and the highly positive response of the Nokia Lumia 800 just proves that.

As Steve Ballmer said during the WPC 2011 that technology and softwares should be intuitive in such a way that the user should not feel the need to use hands to type or press buttons. And this did not particularly refer to Bing while being demonstrated. Microsoft wants just that in upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices.

Presently, there are a huge number of Facebook users who update their status hands-free using a Windows Phone device and in the near future, Microsoft has plans to improve this by adding a lot many new features into the skill set of Tellme such that users can make calls by calling out nicknames, redial a number, start a favorite app, do an online search and lots more with both hands off the mobile device. Pretty cool!

This just takes its motto “Put People first” forward.

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Microsoft Student Partner | Computer Science graduate | Loves flirting with technology | Microsoft watcher | Syed Asrarullah lives on the web at @asrartheone.


  1. Brian Garrett

    Just so everyone can compare – check out the side-by-side demo of Siri and TellMe. After you watch this I think you’ll be able to tell which is the better product. The one that was released a year ago, or the beta one that Apple has put onto their new phones.

  2. Asrartheone

    Brian, I agree that Siri has got more capabilities. But so will Tellme after quite some time.

    Thats my point 🙂

  3. ! remember that two years ago , on ”Brikfish” and then ideas for win7 phone but none show any interest , are you ready now ?

  4. Anonymous

    Siri is miles ahead than any digital assistant technologies. And ‘Tellme’? Not in the race!

  5. Seriously? It’s taken Microsoft a year to make a product that can’t stand up to Apple’s Siri? Tellme is a simple command interface – Siri’s technology enables actual rudimentary conversations. But, this story is about more that what’s better.

    It’s more telling that someone has to remind people that TellMe exists. Why? Because no one knows, and fewer use Windows phones. That’s the real story.

  6. Microsoft “Tell Me?” may be in 2020. Its really funny how pathetic is Craig’s take against Siri is. Sounds like they dont have a clue what they are even talking about.

    What Microsoft currently has is command driven speech recognition, which is more like reading predefined commands from the speech reference card. Siri on other hand isnt speech recognition. Its an all new innovative feature, which is built on top of speech recognition. Siri understands natural language and responds and does almost everything you expect as action-response out of a conversation. Siri is personal. Siri learns your music library, addressbook everything, So it can interact and answer you more likely.

    Microsoft “TellMe” is a future Demonstration as of now. its always been that way for microsoft, no offense. I do love Microsoft and things they develop. but honestly i cant agree with the author here anyways, its really not honest to say that Microsoft Tell Me is “the Siri that we had before an year”. its never Siri.. it “will be” siri, when they release it (possibly) in (atleast) next version of Windows mobile OS. Siri is here now, and it works Excellently. and thats what matters.

  7. Transientmind

    MS creates technologies and Apple buys technologies that already exist. I wonder how they would fare with legos

  8. What difference does it makes to an end user? As End user, i love quality products, I dont mind if they make them or buy them. or who makes them or buy them : )

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