Apple this week "acqui-hired" the team from Init.ai
, a startup that designed a smart assistant to allow customer service representatives to easily parse through and automate some interactions with users, reports TechCrunch
The startup focused on creating an AI with natural language processing and machine learning to analyze chat-based conversations between humans.
Init.ai announced that it was shutting down its service earlier this week to join a new project.
Today is an exciting day for our team. Init.ai is joining a project that touches the lives of countless people across the world. We are thrilled and excited at the new opportunities this brings us.
However, this means Init.ai will discontinue its service effective December 16th 2017. While we wish to make this transition as smooth as possible, we cannot continue to operate Init.ai going forward.
Apple did not purchase Init.ai and will not obtain any intellectual property nor is there an indication that Apple plans to use any existing Init.ai services. Instead, Apple has taken on the Init.ai team, who will now work on Apple's Siri personal assistant.
The addition of the Init.ai team may hint at Apple's future Siri plans, with the company perhaps planning to build out more business integrations to supplement Business Chat, the iOS 11 iMessage feature that allows businesses to communicate with customers.
says it's not entirely clear how many people from Init.ai will be transitioning to Apple, but the startup only employed six people.