History of Siri Shows Apple Almost Lost Software to Android and Verizon

This week, the Huffington Post is taking a comprehensive look back at the origins of mobile’s top speech recognition powerhouse today – Siri, the virtual assistant that has become a standard feature of Apple’s popular iDevice line.

As it turns out, Apple almost lost Siri to Android through an early bid by Verizon to gain exclusive usage of the cutting-edge software for Android devices.

In 2009, Verizon proposed a deal with the startup in hopes of making Siri a default app on all Android phones to launch starting in 2010.

Within months, however, Apple made a surprising move to acquire the company and secured exclusive rights to Siri.

“The way that Steve [Jobs] described it, speech recognition — and how to use it to create a speech interface for something like the iPhone — was an area of interest to him and Scott Forstall [then head of Apple’s mobile software] for some time,” explains Dag Kittlaus, Siri’s co-founder and chief executive. “The story that I’m told is that he thought we’d cracked that paradigm with our simple, conversational interface.”

Alas, speech recognition was of critical importance to Steve Jobs. And, as a result, Apple plunked down somewhere between $150 to $250 million for the technology that makes Siri possible.

Since October 2011, Siri has existed as a cornerstone feature of Apple’s iOS.

And that, boys and girls, is today’s mobile tech history lesson of the day.

To read more from the in-depth Huffington Post report, click here.