Apple acquires AI firm Turi

Apple Inc has reportedly acquired AI firm Turi, a machine learning platform for developers and data scientists, for around $200 million.

Turi's products include Turi Machine Learning Platform, GraphLab Create, Turi Distributed, and Turi Predictive Services.

These products are largely designed to improve data understanding and can be deployed by both large and small scale organisations.

Turi was earlier known as Dato and prior to that, GraphLab.

In October last year, the Cupertino-based company acquired artificial intelligence companies Perceptio and VocalIQ. With Perceptio users can do advanced calculations on their phones without storing user data in the cloud, VocalIQ, a UK-based startup that builds speech processing technology.

According to commentators, the move signalled Apple's intentions to enhance the capabilities of its virtual assistant Siri, catch up with competitors in the field of chat bots, or it might also have some other plans regarding the technology altogether. In many of these cases, the company seemed to have definitely become more active post the decline in its iPhone sales.

The Turi team will continue to work out of Seattle. It is led by Carlos Guestrin, the Amazon professor of machine learning at the University of Washington.

Guestrin also ran a well-regarded conference in the field, the most recent edition of which was held last month in San Francisco, drawing hundreds of experts in the field.

The Turi buyout comes as Apple and other tech giants, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon focus increasingly on computer learning and artificial intelligence.

While Apple was the early mover with personal assistant, Siri, other companies had made big moves into bots, while Siri has evolved rather slowly.