Microsoft’s embarrassment over Recall fiasco gets worse as Windows 11 feature becomes the butt of Apple exec’s joke

Apple has the proverbial knives out for Microsoft when it comes to AI, landing a blow over the recent backtracking with Windows 11’s Recall feature for Copilot+ PCs.

You’ll likely have seen that Microsoft has had a turbulent time with Recall since announcing the feature, which takes regular screenshots of the activity on your PC to concoct a timeline searchable via AI – a powerful ability no doubt, but one which raised a whole bunch of security and privacy question marks. So much so that Microsoft pulled Recall from the launch of Copilot+ PCs, and put it back into testing for now.

In a video clip from WWDC 24 – which yes, was last week, but this footage only just surfaced on X – an Apple exec pulled no punches when the subject of Windows 11’s Recall feature came up.

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John Gruber (a well-known Apple pundit of Daring Fireball fame) asked a question about whether Microsoft’s mistakes with the initial incarnation of Recall are frustrating to Apple, as it tries to build trust in its own AI product (Apple Intelligence).

Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing, Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak, is in like a flash to clarify if Gruber means: “Are we pressured by the failings of our competitors?”

That gets a big laugh, and Joswiak follows up with: “The answer’s no.”

Analysis: Making the most of Microsoft’s mistakes

It’s not a surprise for Apple to land such a marketing blow, as Microsoft has very much left its guard down and is an open target right now in terms of its AI ambitions.

Microsoft making such a misstep with its key AI feature for Copilot+ PCs – Recall is the ace in its Windows 11 artificial intelligence pack – is pretty embarrassing. However, we are glad Microsoft has taken ownership of these mistakes and is attempting to rectify them – although it doesn't really have a choice not to. There wasn’t realistically any other way forward.

Gruber does make a serious point about how this could be damaging for the public trust in all manifestations of AI, though, even if Joswiak completely deflects that concern.

Fortunately for Apple, the company laid out its stall regarding tight security and privacy emphatically with Apple Intelligence. That includes keeping as much processing as possible on-device for AI workloads, and for tasks that need more muscle and are sent online, they go to custom-built Apple servers featuring a hardened OS, and contents not even the company itself can see (with your data being ‘cryptographically destroyed’ after the AI query is dealt with).

So, in some ways this is great timing for Apple, in terms of the revelation of Apple Intelligence, and explanation of how it’s watertight for security, while Microsoft appears to be blundering around with Recall.

And while we get Gruber’s point about wider trust issues, the hard reality is that AI is coming, and we don’t see this particular juggernaut losing momentum – and if Apple is positioned as the company to trust, the one that won’t play fast and loose with your data, that’s going to be a very comfortable position to occupy among the tech giants out there.

Via Windows Central

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There’s trouble in AI paradise as Microsoft and OpenAI butt heads

OpenAI warned Microsoft early this year about rushing into integrating GPT-4 (a more advanced but less ‘stable’ language model) into Bing without further training. Microsoft pushed ahead anyway. 

This led to a rush of unhinged and strange behaviour from the Bing AI tool. Now, a new report by the Wall Street Journal details how there is “conflict and confusion” between the companies and their fragile alliance.

Keeping in mind Microsoft doesn't own OpenAI outright (something it often does to up-and-coming companies), but instead invested a 49% stake in the startup, the arrangement gave Microsoft early access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Dall-E to boost Bing’s search engine.

It’s a setup that benefits both parties, as OpenAI gains a stable financial investment and servers for hosting, where Microsoft gets early access to the previously mentioned tools, forcing Google and others to scramble to catch up. The WSJ article describes this as an “open relationship” where Microsoft maintains significant influence without outright control. 

Retro illustration of a man and robot butting heads

(Image credit: studiostoks / Shutterstock)

Butting of heads

Microsoft's rush to incorporate GPT-4 into Bing search without the necessary further training has built resentment on both sides. 

According to the article, some Microsoft employees feel slighted by the fact that Microsoft's in-house AI projects are being overlooked in favour of OpenAI, which despite their partnership is free to work with Microsoft’s rivals. 

Apparently, there's also a feeling that OpenAI is not allowing some people at Microsoft full access to its tech. Some also feel that OpenAI's warning about not rushing into using its tech is hypocritical, as many feel OpenAI rushed out ChatGPT.

This has led to a situation where the pair are working together, and yet against each other at the same time. Time will tell whether that leads to healthy competition or a very messy breakup. 

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