Lawsuit: Apple’s Siri Advertising “Misleading & Deceptive”

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Apple's Siri Lawsuit

Apple’s Siri personal assistant feature is at the center of a new lawsuit filed by an iPhone 4S customer last Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, as reported by The Wall Street Journal and discovered by MacRumors

Plaintiff Frank M. Fazio of Brooklyn, New York has filed the suit on behalf of iPhone 4S owners, claiming that Apple’s iPhone 4S advertising conveys a “misleading and deceptive message” with regard to Siri’s functionality. The lawsuit states:

In many of Apple’s television advertisements, individuals are shown using Siri to make appointments, find restaurants, and even learn the guitar chords to classic rock songs or how to tie a tie. In the commercials, all of these tasks are done with ease with the assistance of the iPhone 4S’s Siri feature, a represented functionality contrary to the actual operating results and performance of Siri.

Apple’s Siri web advertisement.

Mr. Fazio claims Siri’s actual functionality falls far short of Apple’s demonstrated usages: “When Plaintiff asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or, after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer.” While Siri has worked well for some users, Mr. Fazio is not alone in his disappointment with the service.

From a purely technical perspective, most of the suit’s complaints could be understandably forgiven due to Siri’s continued status as a beta service that is a work-in-progress. Mr. Fazio claims, however, that Apple crossed the line when it began to advertise the incomplete Siri as a major reason to purchase the iPhone 4S and that such a campaign for a service that is known by Apple to be incomplete amounts to misleading and deceptive advertising. 

The suit is seeking unspecified damages and a court order to prevent Apple from using additional misleading advertising related to Siri’s functionality. Apple has yet to file a response.

Comments

Lee Dronick

?When Plaintiff asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or, after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer.”

I can see the court proceedings now. The plaintiff takes the stand and the lawyers ask their questions. Neither the court reporter, Judge, jurors, or the media can understand what the plaintiff said.

geoduck

Neither the court reporter, Judge, jurors, or the media can understand what the plaintiff said.

Plaintiff Frank M. Fazio of Brooklyn, New York

Could be rolleyes

beastcmg

I watched the ad and ask the same questions as in the ad and had no problem what so ever, I must not be mumbling enough

Lee Dronick

Siri understands English, French, German, and Japanese, it doesn’t understand Brooklynese. smile

Lee Dronick

@beastcmg

I initially had equally good and bad experiences with Siri, now most of them are good. I found it best to talk “normally” as if you were having a conversation with someone, which I guess that in effect you are. Keep the tempo the same.

My wife has more difficulty with Siri. However she is hearing impaired and has the accent of someone with that condition. She had two cochlear implants and not only has her hearing greatly improved, but her speech as well. She still works on her speech and I feel that with more work she will be able to utilize Siri much more effectively. When the cochlear implant was turned on after surgery within four hours her voice went from being rather nasal to much lower, it was dramatic to hear it happen.

mrmwebmax

+

My favorite use of Siri is creating reminders. Whenever I need reminded to buy certain groceries (“Siri, remind me to buy dry cat food at WalMart.”) Siri always gets the reminder right, then asks when I would like reminded. Is Siri perfect? No. But then again, how many people have been led astray by MapQuest, Google Maps, or their GPS? (MapQuest and Google Maps have both given me wrong directions on rare occasion.) And look at auto-correct functionality: There are websites devoted to what often goes wrong, with hilarious results:

http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/

And for that matter, is Google perfect? Is Bing? As they return different search results, you can’t say both are perfect. I’d argue that Google is better, but that’s simply because I seem to be able to optimize my websites for Google better than Bing.

Siri is a heck of a lot of fun, IMHO. I speak clearly, in an even tone and cadence, and she usually understands. Granted, she doesn’t always get my meaninig: I tried “Let’s play global thermonuclear war,” was expecting “wouldn’t you prefer a nice game of chess?”—dropped the ball there, Apple!!!—and instead she looked through my iTunes collection for a song called “Global Thermonuclear War.”

Its still amazing technology, even if she doesn’t always get it right. That said, I once thought I’d ask her a math question, just to see. I asked her what 2+2 equals. She came back with a whole bunch of data from Wolfram Alpha on the number 4.

“Thank you Siri,” I said.

“Your satisfaction is the only thanks I need,” she replied.

Freakin’ unbelievable.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Looks like he spelled “Ferrigno” wrong.

daemon

... Why is it when Apple fails with a product it’s a ‘Beta’ device?

You see, it’s not that I mind Beta devices, I got gmail the day it went into Beta and never looked back. I just have an expectation that I know it’s a Beta before hand, and there is absolutely no way I would have thought Siri was a Beta when the iPhone 4S was launched. And I feel incredibly insulted every time someone claims that Siri is a Beta device. Because I know what Beta is, and by God, what Apple has done with Siri is not a Beta. It’s a complete failure to Q&A their software.

Richard Hutchison

This guy is the typical idiot that has nothing better to do with his time.  I hate class action lawsuits because the lawyers get millions while the plaintiffs get Pennies.

I hate pussies like this guy!

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