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Siri poses ‘competitive threat’ to Google

Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt has told US senators that Siri poses a "competitive threat" to the company.

Schmidt says: "Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information."

The comments were made in front of the US Senate antitrust subcommittee, which has been set-up to investigate competition in search engine and broadband markets, as part of its ongoing inquiry into the sector.

His more recent statement contradicts earlier views expressed by the company head in April, which said that Apple was not a serious contender in the online search market.

He also cited two different publications to support his more recent line of thought that labelled the app a "Google killer".

Schmidt used these documents as evidence for his claim that the company could not be labelled anti-competitive or accused of monopolising search markets.

To further this argument, he also mentioned the role played by specialised search engines such as WebMD, eBAY and Kayak in dividing up market share, as well as more traditional competitors like Bing and Yahoo.

However, according to industry insiders the threat posed by Siri technology is restricted by the fact it is currently only available in beta form and the likelihood that Google will launch a similar product of its own in the not-too-distant future.

Siri, a personal assistant app for iOS, was released as part of a newly updated and integrated media platform by Apple in October this year.

The software feature, which is available on the iPhone 4S, uses voice recognition data to answer user questions and according to Apple "lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, make phone calls and more".

The application provides new ways for users and brands to share fresh content, as well as utilise web services to source relevant and personalised information.

Posted by Aimee McBride