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Apple acquires lightweight software focused Artificial Intelligence startup Silk Labs

Nov 21, 2018, 10:45 am

A report by The Information suggests that Apple has acquired Silk Labs, an artificial intelligence business startup focusing on “software lightweight enough to fit onto consumer hardware like cameras.” As with most of the deals struck by Apple, information regarding this deal is also sparse.

Reports do suggest, however, that the deal was struck by Apple earlier this year, and the price paid by Apple for the acquisition was also a small one since Silk Labs has around a half-dozen employees and Apple had already raised a handsome amount of $4 million in funding.

Silk Labs had been founded in 2015 by Andreas Gal, Chris Jones, and Michael Vines. All three of them are former Mozilla employees and had worked on Firefox OS, Mozilla’s attempted competitor to iOS and Android.

Both Apple and Silk Labs have expressed interest in using artificial intelligence in a manner that also protects user privacy. For instance, Silk Labs has been suggesting AI products where artificial intelligence runs locally on a user’s device instead of in the cloud.

This isn’t the first artificial intelligence acquisition made by Apple, with the tech giant acquiring AI company Lattice Data for $200 million last year and hiring Google’s search and AI chief, John Giannandrea, to join its own AI efforts earlier this year. He was named Apple’s head of machine learning and AI strategy earlier this year.

In keeping with its norm, Apple has refrained from comment on reports of its Silk Labs acquisition.

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