(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. has acquired Indian machine-learning startup Tuplejump Software Pvt Ltd as it seeks to expand its expertise in artificial intelligence.
The iPhone maker bought the Hyderabad, India-based company in June, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified. Tuplejump’s software specializes in processing and analyzing big sets of data quickly. The deal was reported earlier by TechCrunch. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple spokesman Colin Johnson said.
Artificial intelligence has become a key investment field for tech giants as Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. compete with Apple to develop virtual assistants. The Tuplejump deal is Apple’s third acquisition in the industry this year, after the iPhone maker bought Seattle-based Turi Inc. for $200 million and purchased Emotient, a company that uses AI to recognize and act upon facial expressions, for an undisclosed amount.
Tuplejump has about a dozen employees, many of whom were already based on the west coast of the U.S., the person said. Founder Rohit Rai’s LinkedIn profile says he started working for Apple in May and is now also based in Seattle.
Apple allowed third parties to use its Siri virtual assistant in their own apps for the first time this year, a move that was seen by some artificial intelligence experts as a key step in improving the product by leaning on the Cupertino, California-based company’s vast community of developers. Google’s rival product has gained plaudits for its ability to understand the intent of a request, while Amazon’s Alexa has an edge in understanding different accents, dialects and languages. Meanwhile, Facebook is seeking to build intelligent chatbots into its social network.