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Siri may pose 'competitive threat' to Google, Eric Schmidt tells Senate subcommittee

Amar Toor, @amartoo
November 7, 2011
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Back in September, Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt sat down before a Senate antitrust subcommittee to discuss his company's competitive practices. As you would expect from anyone in his situation, Schmidt spent much of his time defending Mountain View's position atop the search industry, and cited several competitors as evidence of its fair play. The exec's list of "threats" featured some of the usual suspects, including Bing, Yahoo and Amazon, as well as Siri. "Even in the few weeks since the hearing, Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S," he wrote, pointing to a handful of publications that characterized Apple's voice assistant as a "Google Killer" and Cupertino's "entry point" into the search market. "Apple's Siri is a significant development -- a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search," Schmidt explained. "Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information." Granted, it's not terribly surprising to hear Google talk up its competition -- especially before a panel of politicians devoted to rooting out anti-competitive practices. Yet Schmidt's comments do mark a noticeable shift from the stance he assumed last year, when he denied that Apple and Facebook posed a "competitive threat" to Google's search operations. As he admitted, "My statement was clearly wrong." Check out the full hearing at the source link below.

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