South Korea’s Samsung announced today it reached a deal to buy US artificial intelligence (AI) developer Viv Labs, which was set up by the entrepreneurs who sold the Siri digital assistant to Apple.
The Silicon Valley company was founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham. The founding team will work closely with Samsung’s Mobile Communications business but will continue to operate independently under its existing leadership, Samsung said in a statement.
Samsung said the acquisition is part of its broader vision to deliver an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services.
Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.
“Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of Samsung’s Mobile Communications business. “Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more.”
Viv co-founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus said Samsung offers a unique opportunity for it to deliver a single conversational interface to the world’s apps and services across a diverse range of products, at a global scale.
Technology firms are increasingly looking to AI to improve how consumers interact with their mobile devices and make the experience more natural and more personalised.
Last week Amazon, Google’s DeepMind, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft joined forces to form a non-profit alliance to work on establishing best practices for the opportunities and challenges within the AI field. Meanwhile the focus of Google’s big event in San Francisco earlier this week was Google Assistant – with Sundar Pichai stating that the world is moving from “mobile-first” to “AI-first”.