Apple News; Siri Results Altered and Damning Emails Surface in the Price Fixing Issue

14621rotten_appleWell, well, well; it looks like Apple has been caught altering the data that Siri returns to their users when asked specific questions. Last week it was reported that when users asked Siri “What is the best smartphone” it replied with the answer The Nokia Lumia 900. Now Apple has previously stated that the information from Siri all comes from WolframAlpha “computational knowledge engine” (pronounce that search engine) and they have no power to alter the data that Siri sends.

This comment was in response to allegations that Siri would not return information on searches for Abortion clinics when asked. At the time Apple blamed this on the questions being asked and said it was just the way that Siri pulled the information from the source engine (again WolframAlpha). This created quite a stir as it was viewed as a source of moral censorship.

Now we see that Apple indeed has the ability to program in the response to certain questions as no matter how you phrase it Siri now returns the “what is the best smartphone?” question with “You’re kidding, right?” or “The one you’re holding.”. This is very disingenuous of Apple to pull this and amounts to nothing less than their attempt at changing search results. It also brings up the question of what other search results they alter when using Siri.

As you can see form the screen shot below WolframAlpha still shows the Nokia Lumia 900 as the response to “what is the best smartphone?” This makes it pretty clear that Apple is not above a little lie here and there with their voice search system. But then again, we have always known that they are not above shady business practices.
In other caught in the cookie jar news; it turns out that Steve Jobs was directly involved in creating the e-book price fixing that Apple is currently accused of by both the DoJ (Department of Justice) and a Class Action Lawsuit. According to emails that were published by news site PaidContent Then CEO Steve Jobs was very eager to setup set pricing for ebooks with the publishers in question. Here is an excerpt from one of the emails (the publisher name has been removed)

"As I see it, [Conspiring Publisher] has the following choices:
1. Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99.
2. Keep going with Amazon at $9.99. You will make a bit more money in the short term, but in the medium term Amazon will tell you they will be paying you 70% of $9.99. They have shareholders too.
3. Hold back your books from Amazon. Without a way for customers to buy your ebooks, they will steal them. This will be the start of piracy and once started, there will be no stopping it. Trust me, I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see any other alternatives. Do you?"

Apple still appears to want to fight this in court and has Macmillan and Penguin on their side. However there are additional emails that point to the group (Apple and the five accused publishers) calling themselves “the club” and even one where they ask Barnes and Noble to “make Random House hurt” if they do not get with the program:

“Random House has chosen to stay on their current model and will allow retailers to sell at whatever price they wish…I would hope that [Barnes & Noble] would be equally brutal to Publishers who have thrown in with your competition with obvious disdain for your welfare…I hope you make Random House hurt like Amazon is doing to people who are looking out for the overall welfare of the publishing industry.”

We thought Mondays were supposed to be the ugly day of the week; well it looks like Tuesday is a bad one for Apple this week. Nokia is currently considering their options over the issue with Apple and their censoring of Siri’s results while the DoJ and Class Actions Suits look to be gearing up nicely.

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