Amazon Preparing to Take on Apple's Siri with Acquisition of Speech Recognition Firm?

yap logoThe Atlantic reports that a Securities and Exchange Commission filing reveals Amazon has quietly acquired voice recognition firm Yap, perhaps signaling intentions to take on Apple and Google in the market.

Though the acquisition was apparently completed in September, no public announcement has been made by either company. The filing does not mention Amazon by name, but Yap merged with a company called "Dion Acquisition Sub" that just so happens to be headquartered at 410 Terry Avenue in Seattle, Washington, an Amazon.com building.

Yap had been working on a beta service for converting voicemail messages to text, but reportedly possesses a significant amount of intellectual property underlying speech recognition technology. The consumer voicemail transcription service was discontinued on October 20th.

Google has of course integrated voice recognition in some of aspects of its business, including a Google Search app for iOS, for some time. And Apple has made a high-profile entrance into the market with Siri on the iPhone 4S, a new virtual personal assistant that accepts voice input for conducting various tasks or retrieving information.

Amazon, which has long competed with Apple in a number of digital download markets, is now pushing into the mobile hardware market as well, building upon its successful Kindle offerings with the introduction of its new Android-based Kindle Fire tablet. While considerably smaller and cheaper than Apple's iPad and focused on tying into Amazon's existing services, the Kindle Fire is being seen as one of the strongest potential competitors for the iPad to yet emerge.

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Top Rated Comments

cgc Avatar
164 months ago
Monkey see, monkey do. And all the Apple haters out there should rejoice, as the industry is moved forward. It's a win-win.

Step 1. Copy Apple
Step 2. Eat banana
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kimble3 Avatar
164 months ago
Voice Recognition

It's important to note that what makes Siri so different isn't the voice recognition, it's the AI behind it. Voice recognition is nothing new or particularly earth shattering and being able to parse voice input is only one small part of the equation. Amazon will still have a long way to go even with this acquisition...
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
guch20 Avatar
164 months ago


You mean copy Apple by BUYING tech from elsewhere? Who is Apple copying when they do that?

What don't people get...it's not that Apple was the first to have voice recognition or a personal digital assistant or whatever you want to label Siri as. The copying comes from the fact that none of these other leading tech visionaries thought it a good idea to have such a feature built into their phones/tablets until Apple did it and did it well.

Apple is never first, but they do get it right more often than not and when they do, all the others come out of the woodwork and act as though the features and products they are blatantly copying are somehow just natural progressions of technology that they were going to come out with anyway--they just happened to wait until Apple showed them the way.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bretm Avatar
164 months ago
Fire is not a mobile competitor. It doesn't have 3G. I just recently realized that an it really makes it kind of a weak product. Not much storage to download and take stuff with you, and no way to stream stuff on the road. Speech Recognition is done in the cloud, so it's kinda pointless on the device since there's no cloud available unless you're sitting at home or in a starbucks talking to your Kindle. I would doubt it has a mic. I know it's not for the kindle, but that's what these articles keep calling Amazon's foray into mobile devices, but it's the least mobile of ALL Amazon devices. It's meant to be used at home or at least somewhere with a wifi hotspot. MUSIC - I want in the car. MOVIES - I want a bigger screen or I want them in the CAR for the kids. Voice Recognition - I want with a MAP and in the CAR.

So I'm sure they'll have a future device in the works, but it won't be as competitive because it will have to be mobile and have a bigger, RETINA screen by then.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
propea Avatar
164 months ago
**User**
Yap, can you please read the 345th word in this book?

**Yap**
Why?? Just read it yourself bro.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
clarkent5477 Avatar
164 months ago
:)

Monkey see, monkey do. And all the Apple haters out there should rejoice, as the industry is moved forward. It's a win-win.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)