Yes, the headline is indeed true. If everything would have gone well in 2009, we today might see Siri as an integral part of US telecom operator Verizon’s Android line-up. But, everything did not go well and Apple purchased Siri the same year and the Verizon’s deal with the maker of the voice assistant was scrapped.
According to a report published by Huffington Post, Verizon had apparently signed a contract with Siri to pre-install their personal assistant on the Droid line-up of devices. They had even shot commercials touting the feature.
Huff Post notes:
“In the fall of 2009, several months before Apple approached Siri, Verizon had signed a deal with the startup to make Siri a default app on all Android phones set to launch in the new year. When Apple swooped in to buy Siri, it insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices, and nixed the Verizon deal. In the process, it narrowly avoided seeing Siri become a selling point for smartphones powered by its biggest rival, Google. (Somewhere in the vaults of the wireless giant, there are unreleased commercials touting Siri as an Android add-on.)”
Siri might not have come to Android, but soon after the launch (re) by Apple, several alternatives for Android popped up in Google Play. Even Google came out with their version of an assistant app “Google Now,” which is not similar to Siri as such but does a lot of what you can expect from an artificially intelligent personal assistant.
Huffington Post has done a pretty interesting story on the origins of Siri, you can read it here.