In recent years Apple has acquired a variety of AI companies. Apple said it acquired Xnor.ai, a start-up of artificial intelligence software, on Wednesday, 15th January 2020.
Previously the company used acquisitions to build the AI talent pool as similar to other technology companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Those companies have all taken steps to improve their own products with AI and provide tools to developers outside of the company.
“Apple keeps acquiring smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company told CNBC.
GeekWire first reported the news earlier Wednesday, saying that the deal was worth up about $200 million. XNOR has been based in Seattle and has 54 employees, according to LinkedIn. Investors include the Madrona Venture Group.
Xnor emerged from a research lab founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The start-up specialized in running its software not in data centers full of powerful computers, but on devices with lower computing resources. The website of the start-up previously showed information about applications in the retail and automotive industries.
Xnor emphasized the ability to run on-device computing, rather than resorting to cloud providers like Amazon.
AI has been key for Apple’s autonomous vehicle research, although the company has also sought to do more in AI in general. In late 2018 Apple appointed John Giannandrea, its senior vice president of artificial intelligence and machine learning strategy and a former Google executive, to its executive team.
AI has been key for Apple’s autonomous vehicle research, though the company has also recently tried to do more in AI. In late 2018 Apple appointed John Giannandrea, its senior vice president of artificial intelligence and machine learning strategy and a former Google executive, to its executive team. Previous acquisitions by Apple AI include Drive.ai, Silk Labs, PullString and Turi.