Siri Co-Founder Dag Kittlaus: Steve Jobs Didn’t Like The “Siri” Name

BY Jason

Published 28 Mar 2012

You probably know by now that Siri was initially launched as an app in the App Store. Apple acquired Siri – the company behind the app back in April 2010 and used its technology to introduce it as a personal assistant feature in iPhone 4S.  

Network World reports that Dag Kittlaus – co-founder of Siri who was the Keynote speaker at Technori Pitch, a monthly event for Chicago based startups provided some interesting details on how the company was acquired by Apple.

Three weeks after we launched I got a call in the office from someone at Apple that said, “Scott Forstall wants to talk to you and he’s the head software guy.”

And I said sure…

Only it wasn’t Scott that called it was Steve. And Steve never announces where he’s gonna be and what he’s gonna do because there’s too much commotion around it. So he said, “Dag, this is Steve Jobs.”

And he wanted me to come over to his house the next day, and I did, and I spent 3 hours with him in front of his fireplace having this surreal conversation about the future.

And, you know, he talked about why Apple was going to win, and we talked about how Siri was doing. And he was very excited about the fact that.. you know, he was very interested in this area in general but, you know, they’re patient, they don’t jump on anything until they feel they can go after something new and he felt that we cracked it. So that was his attraction.

I ended up very lucky, timing wise. I got to work with him for a year before he got real sick. And he’s pretty incredible. The stories are true. All of the stories.

Kittlaus also explained how he came up with the Siri name:

So Siri means in Norwegian, “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”.

I worked with a lady named Siri in Norway and wanted to name my daughter Siri and the domain was available. And also consumer companies need to focus on the fact that the name is easy to spell, is easy to say…

Kittlaus recounted that Steve Jobs didn’t like the Siri name, but he kept lobbying Steve Jobs to keep the Siri name and finally decided to stick with Siri as he failed to find anything better.

It seems to have worked out just fine for Apple. Siri is now a household name thanks to the iPhone 4S commercials that feature it prominently, appearance on CBS’s popular sitcom – The Big Bang Theory (video embedded below), the most hysterical impression by Robin Williams and not to forget the rave reviews it has received from some users.

Kittlaus left Apple in October 2011, just after the iPhone 4S was launched to pursue other opportunities and to move closer to his family in Chicago.