Apple has just triggered a flurry of speculations as news was confirmed that it had acquired Tuplejump Software Pvt Ltd., a machine learning company operating in Hyderabad, India.
The acquisition was reportedly completed last June and it rounded up the series of Apple startup purchases dabbling in artificial intelligence. Previously, the company acquired Turi Inc. for $200 million and it was followed by Emotient for a still unconfirmed amount. This last company is known in the industry for its employment of AI on facial expressions.
These purchases are widely believed to be part of Apple's drive to improve its virtual assistant technology amid growing competition with Google. Such competition is highlighted by the fact that the search engine company has been beefing up its own AI stable with its several tech acquisitions that include the purchase of API.AI, which develops popular chatbot technology.
Presently, little is known about how Apple will tap Tuplejump's expertise. The company certainly did not help in this aspect as it remained tightlipped about the purchase, invoking its customary position where facts are buried in ambiguous wordings.
"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Observers, however, speculate that what Tuplejump has developed so far could be utilized in improving Apple's cloud services. The iPhone maker has been focusing on this particular area as evidenced by the integration of the iCloud Drive into the recently released macOS Sierra. It could also complement existing technologies in Apple's virtual assistant Siri as well as apps like iTunes and the App Store.
Specific rumors also detail how Apple's recent investments are driven by an emerging interest on FiloDB, which is an open-source technology built to implement machine learning in analyzing huge amounts of data. Tuplejump's role could prove significant in this drive if one considers the insights taken from its website, which has been taken down after the acquisition. Archived images of the webpages showed how the startup explained the capability of services to simplify data management technologies with tools that are scalable and easy to use.
The scramble for AI-based technologies is not only limited to Apple and Google. Facebook is also increasingly integrating chatbots into its own platform. Amazon has also set aside $100 million to develop Alexa, its own voice search AI, building on its capability to understand languages and dialects as well as their nuances, including accents. Alexa currently powers smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo.