Apple Snaps up Seattle-based AI Startup, Continues to Strengthen AI Talent

Xnor is a US-based AI software startup that is spun out of the Allen Institute for AI founded by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Multinational technology giant, Apple has acquired Xnor.ai, a US-based AI software startup that is spun out of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s research lab Allen Institute for AI. According to sources, Apple paid approximately $200 million for the acquisition. In December 2018, Apple promoted its Senior VP of Machine Learning and AI Strategy to make him part of its executive team. Former Google executive, John Giannandrea received the promotion after eight months he joined Apple. Sources say that Apple is quite serious about its growth in the AI industry. Moreover, AI is said to be critical for the success of the company’s autonomous vehicle research.

According to sources, Apple has a standard statement to confirm its acquisitions. “Apple buys smaller tech companies from time to time, and generally, we do not discuss our plans or purpose,” wrote Apple to CNBC in an email.

Acquisition of Xnor reflects Apple’s strong interest in data and personal privacy

Just as any other tech giant, Apple has acquired companies to add to its AI talent. It has previously acquired Turi, PullString, Silk Labs, and Drive.ai as part of a push into AI. The acquisition of Xnor reiterates Apple’s strong interest in data and personal privacy.

Based in Washington, Xnor has Madrona Venture Group as one of its investors. Having more than 50 employees as shown on its LinkedIn account, the startup brings AI to edge devices, including IoT, wearables, drones, cars, and cameras. Its technology is said to be used by government, consumer electronics, photography, retail, automotive, and aerospace corporations. Its platform helps product developers to locally run complex deep learning algorithms on a broad range of devices. According to the startup, this approach helps to reduce power demands and memory load, eliminates the need for connectivity, and ensure complete data privacy.

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