Apple Buys AI Startup Turi for $200M – Report

iPhone maker Apple is reported to have spent $200 million on a takeover of an artificial intelligence (AI) startup called Turi.

The move, which was first reported by GeekWire, could help the Californian company in its battle against rivals like Facebook and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), as emerging computing capabilities open up new service opportunities for the world's biggest technology players.

Turi assists developers who are introducing machine-learning capabilities into software and services. Its technology can also help organizations to detect patterns of consumer behavior and then improve their sales and marketing activities.

According to a report from Bloomberg, which cites a source close to the matter, the Turi technology could be integrated with Siri, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s voice-controlled digital assistant, to improve the service to customers. Turi might also aid the development of forthcoming products and services.

Bloomberg also reports that Apple sees the deal as a way of fostering links with the growing community of AI researchers.

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Based in Seattle, Turi used to be called Dato and is said to have raised about $25 million in funding from investors including New Enterprise Associates and Madrona Venture Group.

The takeover move would come after a series of AI acquisitions by Apple, including the January purchase of Emotient, whose technology analyzes facial expressions to determine what they mean.

In 2015, Apple bought two AI startups called VocalIQ and Perceptio as it looked to make improvements to Siri.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
mhhf1ve 8/18/2016 | 5:03:07 PM
Re: AI race The AI race is still in its early days. So there's plenty of time for Apple (or any large company) to catch up. Siri has pretty significant brand recognition, so in some sense, Apple isn't that far behind -- and Microsoft has some catching up to do with Cortana.
kq4ym 8/18/2016 | 1:35:50 PM
Re: AI race I would guess Apple just has to invest in AI no matter what the current profit forecast might be. Getting several companies in the industry might well lead to some new innovating ideas that would allow a leap forward into a very profitable future.
msilbey 8/8/2016 | 1:37:38 PM
AI race I can't decide if I think Apple has a chance to catch up with Facebook and Google, and hell, Microsoft. The company certainly has enough money to buy its way in and the customer footprint to distribute the technology. But it does seem to have lost some of its mojo, and competitors are way ahead.
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