Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Apple buys personal assistant app maker Siri

According to an FTC report, Apple has closed a deal to acquire Siri, a personal assistant app for Apple's iPhone.
Initially discovered by Robert Scoble of Scobleizer, the purchase probably fills a hole Apple saw in its own offerings so you can probably expect to see Siri's capabilities rolled out by Apple in a new version of the iPhone OS, specifically, inside Apple's Voice Control feature.

Siri basically uses third party APIs to grab information from other applications to fulfill the users request for information (see video below).

Both Apple and Google have been extremely active in acquiring new companies and technology. Google bought the Israeli game developer LabPixies this week for $25 million. Last week Google bought Agnilux, a Silicon Valley company founded by former employees of PA Semiconductor, a company Apple purchased in 2008. According to the New York Times, the deal was completed "not for silicon expertise or to build actual hardware, but for help with porting Google platforms like its Chrome and Android operating systems onto other devices – like tablets, or possibly even television set-top boxes."

Apple has been just as active. Besides today's revelation about Siri, Apple also is thought to have purchased Intrinsity, a company that makes chips that boost the performance of cellphones and tablets. Intrinsity technology was reportedly used in the A4 processor Apple employed in its iPad. Barron's reported the Intrinsity deal at $121 million.

Update: MacRumors has posted an interesting thread about Apple's Knowledge Navigator vision from 1987, postulating that Apple is attempting to make this vision come true with the iPad and these recent acquisitions including this acquisition of Siri. Here is a link to the YouTube video in question.