Apple’s been snapping up AI firms to make Siri smarter


Apple has been shopping in an attempt to make Siri smarter, according to a new report from GlobalData.

The market research firm says the tech giant bought more AI companies than anyone between 2016 and 2020.

The second largest buyer of AI was Irish consulting firm Accenture. But the rest of the top five were all based in the United States.

Google took third place on the list, followed by Microsoft and Facebook.

[Read: How to use AI to better serve your customers]

GlobalData found that the four U.S. companies collectively bought 60 AI companies – nearly half (25) of which were bought by Apple.

Nicklas Nilsson, senior analyst at GlobalData, said many of Apple’s offerings focused on Siri:

Machine learning startup Inductiv was acquired to improve Siri data, Irish voice technology startup Voysis was purchased to improve Siri’s understanding of natural language, and PullString is expected to make Siri easier to use for students. iOS developers. Apple went on a shopping spree in an attempt to catch up with Google (Google Assistant) and Amazon (Alexa). Siri was the first to hit the market, but it consistently ranks below the two in terms of “ smartness, ” which is part of why Apple lags far behind in smart speaker sales.

This isn’t the first firm to name Apple as the top AI acquirer. A 2019 report from CB Insights found that since purchasing Siri in 2010, Apple has made more AI acquisitions than Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

As the iPhone maker doesn’t make all of its acquisitions public, the actual number could be even higher.

The AI ​​buying frenzy mirrors Apple’s broader strategy of developing technology through acquisitions. Apple boss Tim Cook revealed in February that the company has captured around 100 companies over the past six years, the equivalent of about one acquisition every three to four weeks.

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Published March 26, 2021 – 19:57 UTC


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