Home Apple Acquires Personal Mobile Assistant Siri

Apple Acquires Personal Mobile Assistant Siri

According to a number of well-informed sources, Apple just acquired Siri, the personal mobile assistant that won the SXSW BizSpark Accelerator competition last month. Nobody at Siri is allowed to talk about this acquisition before Apple makes its own announcement, but our own sources confirm that this acquisition has indeed happened. These rumors are also substantiated by this recent FTC disclosure (PDF) by Apple and Siri.

The first person to notice this acquisition was Robert Scoble, who found a reference to it in this FTC document (PDF). While we are still waiting for official confirmation, our sources tell us that the acquisition is basically a done deal at this point.

Why Apple?

For Apple, this acquisition makes perfect sense. Siri was spun out of SRI International, and its core technology is based on the ambitious DARPA-funded CALO artificial intelligence project. With VoiceOver, Apple already features some voice recognition in its projects. This acquisition, however, will allow the company to take it to a completely new level. You can, for example, ask Siri – by voice – to check for a dinner reservation through OpenTable at a local Italian restaurant nearby or check on local movie listings.

When we first looked at Siri in February, we described it as one of the “most ambitious mobile services we have seen in the last few years.” Siri’s ability to understand natural language will give Apple a major advantages over other players in this market.

It remains to be seen, however, if Apple will continue to develop Siri in its current form, or if the company is mostly interested in Siri’s intellectual property. When we first talked to Siri about its roadmap, the company’s CEO, Dag Kittlaus, told us that Siri also planned to offer an API and versions for other mobile operating systems in the future. After this acquisition, it is probably safe to say that we won’t see Siri for Android anytime soon.

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