Apple has acquired the startup specialized in artificial intelligence technologies and voice assistance, Pullstring. With which it hopes to improve the adoption of Siri and compete with the great leader in the sector of virtual assistants Alexa of Amazon.
Pullstring was founded in 2011 by a group of executives who left Pixar. It’s CEO, Oren Jacob, was the technology director of the company that Steve Jobs acquired at the time to establish it as an independent animation company.
The company jumped into the media when its technology base was chosen as the backbone of the software behind the voice systems for electronic toys. Mainly the popular Hello Barbie dolls of the giant Mattell.
Beyond the toy industry, PullString has also worked in the business sector to help companies develop skills and create conversational voice applications for Amazon’s Alexa platforms and the Google Assistant. It’s most recent valuation after the last round of financing was 160 million dollars. It is unknown how much Apple will pay and if it will include all the equipment of this startup.
The is aimed at improving the adoption of Siri
US media commented that the purchase is aimed at improving the adoption of Siri. Whose applications and functions are far behind the tens of thousands of integrations, skills and actions offered by Amazon and Google.
Amazon leads the segment with an Alexa that has not only been the basis to open a new product category with the Echo. But has licensed it for use by other manufacturers in their products for the home. Segment of the automobile with agreements like SEAT, to the retail through large retailers like Best Buy and even the PC, leaving Microsoft’s Cortana out of the game.
As for Google Assistant, it was the star of the Internet giant in the past CES. Although it is still behind Alexa, it is gaining ground quickly and in many areas, mainly smartphones with Android. But also in other segments, in the automotive industry or in intelligent hardware for the home, speakers, smart display. household appliances, sensors, thermostats or lamps.
Apple has work ahead to reach them and convince the developers. It is thought that the purchase of PullString will help to accelerate the adoption of Siri.
Also published on Medium.