Apple’s Siri is a direct threat to Google’s search market share, according to Google’s Eric Schmidt.
Google’s Chairman made the comment in a letter to the U.S. Senate’s Antitrust Subcommittee on Friday. The committee is investigating if Google’s lead in the search market, which ComScore places as as high as 65%, is “threatening competition.”
In the letter Schmidt said, “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.”
In the same letter Schmidt says that Google faces increasing search competition from other sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Bing, and Yelp. His comments echo ones he made in September to the same committee. In his September letter Schmidt set out Google’s view of the search market
“Google faces competition from numerous sources including other general search engines (such as Microsoft‟s Bing, Yahoo!, and Blekko); specialized search sites, including travel sites (like Expedia and Travelocity), restaurant reviews (like Yelp), and shopping sites (like Amazon and eBay); social media sites (like Facebook); and mobile applications beyond count, just to name a few.”
He also pointed to Microsoft’s instillation of Bing as the default search for many of Microsoft’s products, and Microsoft’s provision of Bing search results to Yahoo!, and Facebook, as well as English language search results for the Chinese search engine Baidu.
While Steve Jobs refused to describe Siri, which Apple purchased for a sum reported to be between $50 million and $100 million, as a search engine the application uses a number of search engines to return results to the user.
This isn’t the first suggestion that Siri could be a significant source of competition for Google. Writing over a month ago, Giga.com said that Siri “has the potential to divert significant traffic away from Google and other search engines.”
Siri was launched as part of Apple’s iPhone 4S and originated from artificial intelligence research funded by DARPA, the arm of the U.S. Military whose research led to the creation of the Internt.