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Former Apple employees rip the company for letting Siri fall behind

  • Siri has been stunted by Apple's decisions to limit access to third-party apps.
  • Apple doesn't store data as long as Amazon or Google.

Apple has struggled to make Siri as smart as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa because of disagreements among its staff and its decisions to limit how long it stores user data, former Apple employees told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple unveiled a new version of Siri during its WWDC keynote address on Monday but failed to show the world how it's much better than competing products from Google and Amazon. There are a few areas where blame can be placed.

The Journal said Apple keeps data for only six months while Google and Amazon continue to hold on to it, learning more and more about specific users as they continue to use the personal assistants.

That means Siri has less information to query when it tries to predict what a user wants.

The Journal said Apple employees have struggled with company leaders, who have resisted allowing Siri to fully tap into third party apps, among other things.

It's certainly a major paint point: A user can only access select apps pre-approved by Apple using Siri. One might book a reservation at a restaurant using OpenTable, for example, which is approved by Apple. That same user can't ask Siri to play music through Spotify, which competes with Apple Music. Alexa and Google Assistant don't have those limitations.

This has led to all sorts of shake-ups, including two co-founders who left Apple and created another start-up, Viv Labs, which was acquired by Samsung. The Journal said two other Siri employees landed at Google and Amazon.

Competitors are starting to creep right onto Apple's turf, too. Google recently launched Google Assistant for iPhone, which we put head-to-head with Siri. While it's not the newest version of Siri that will launch this fall, Google Assistant was much more valuable and accurate than Siri in our tests. Amazon has started to bring Alexa to smartphones, too.

While competitors may be smarter than Siri, Apple may still be able to come out on top among consumers who care more about privacy than they do accurate answers from voice assistants. Strong loyalty to Apple's universe is another factor.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Read the full The Wall Street Journal report here.