Venture

Siri, Tell Us About Apple’s Latest Acquisition

Apple is hungry, again.

The Cupertino giant just acquired Laserlike, a machine learning startup that helps deliver user-specific content, The Information reported. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s being reported that the Laserlike acquisition will be used to bolster Siri capabilities.

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Laserlike was started by three ex-Googlers, Steven Baker, Anand Shukla, and Srinivasan Venkatachary. Mountain View-based Laserlike says on its website that it will “deliver high quality information and diverse perspectives” to its users through its artificial intelligence-powered web search.

Apple buying a small company is no surprise – according to Crunchbase data Apple has acquired 106 companies over its lifetime. In 2018 alone, it acquired seven.

In 2019, Apple’s appetite continues to grow. Only three months into the year, it has already acquired three companies: PullString, DataTiger, and now Laserlike. Our EIC Alex Wilhelm wrote about the two previous acquisitions here).

While DataTiger focuses on digital marketing, PullString works with artificial intelligence and will help with “Siri, HomePod and voice strategy.”

Apple did not immediately respond to Crunchbase News’ request regarding the new acquisition. However, I’m guessing deal dynamics moved pretty fast: In May 2018, Laserlike’s Venkatachary posted on Facebook: “Apple is promoting us today as App of the day! Pretty thrilled. Check out our app and send us feedback.”

Fast forward 45 weeks, and it’s clear that Apple’s enthusiasm has transitioned from vocal support to hard investment. Not bad.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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