- Samsung has acquired Viv, an artificial intelligence system built by Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, the team that created Apple’s Siri, according to TechCrunch.
- Viv was designed to be the next generation of technology after Siri, and is interconnected across multiple apps and services on top of having a programmatic backend.
- Samsung has been experiencing a slew of very public hardware difficulties lately, as its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones began to explode or set fire after launch,forcing it to eventually instate a mass recall.
Exploding phones ensured Samsung lost out to Apple during the adjacent launches of their newest smartphones, and Samsung could be emphasizing big software upgrades to divert attention from the much-publicized failure of the Galaxy Note 7. Directly buying out the company that developed Siri, one of Apple's iconic mobile features, is indeed a bold competitive move, and Viv touts even better functionality than its parent tech.
A key differentiation point for Viv is that it purports to be developer friendly. This is significant as apps for digital assistants will likely be a key method for driving use going forward.
It appears that digital assistants are becoming table stakes for consumer-facing digital platforms, with Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple all offering one. This suggests that Samsung's acquisition is a strategic move to insure it stays with the pack.
Artificial intelligence is a hot item right now, with a number of major players moving toward acquisitions and better focused internal AI plans. Salesforce recently unveiled its Einstein AI engine, set to become a core element of its flagship CRM, and Microsoft announced an AI initiative that will spread across its entire enterprise and product and service line.
Last week, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon and IBM all teamed up for the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, a group set to promote public understanding of AI while creating standards and best practices for developers to adhere to.
Samsung’s acquisition of Viv is another link in that chain, and it gives the company an AI assistant to include in future smartphones to rival, and possibly surpass, the functionality of Apple’s Siri. TechCrunch reported exact numbers and terms of the deal are currently unclear.