John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Snags Search With Siri Buy

2010 is proving to be quite a year for Apple (AAPL) acquisitions. Yesterday, it was confirmed that the company had purchased semiconductor design house Intrinsity. Now comes word that it has acquired mobile app assistant firm Siri. Siri has confirmed the deal to Business Insider and VentureWire, and a pre-merger notification released by the Federal Trade Commission lists it as among those granted early termination under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act today.

Apple, for its part, offers up the standard non-denial it offers up for deals like these: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans,” spokesman Steve Dowling emails.

So what does Apple want with Siri?

One word: search. As my colleague Oliver Chiang wrote during the company’s demo at our D7 conference last year:

Siri is a virtual personal assistant for your iPhone or computer, with a pedigree: It originated at the Stanford Research Institute and was spun out as an AI project financed by DARPA. Now, as an alternative to search, Siri is supposed to carry out tasks like finding your next flight out or ordering a pizza by crawling the Web and conversing with the user, processing requests, responding and learning from the interaction. It will do this via a combination of technologies, including speech recognition, natural language processing and semantic Web search.

Get that? Speech recognition, natural language processing and semantic Web search. Interesting, no? Below is a video of Siri’s D7 demo.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google