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October 6, 2016

Samsung buys Siri maker in AI push

Viv Labs is a maker of AI technology.

By Alexander Sword

Samsung is acquiring Viv Labs, the maker of Apple’s Siri, as part of a push into the artificial intelligence (AI) space.

Viv provides an open AI platform which allows developers to use and build conversational assistants. The technology can be integrated into applications to provide natural language interface.

Samsung said in a statement that the acquisition was part of the company’s “broader vision to deliver an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services.”

The acquisition is subject to closing conditions.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, 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 the Mobile Communications business at Samsung Electronics.


Injong Rhee

Injong Rhee, Samsung Mobile Business CTO.


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“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, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control.”

“At Viv, we’re building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere. We see a future that is decidedly beyond apps—where you can get what you need quickly and easily no matter where you are, or what device you are near,” said Viv co-founder and CEO, Dag Kittlaus.

Samsung offers us a unique opportunity to deliver a single conversational interface to the world’s apps and services across a diverse range of products, at global scale.”

The news came as Samsung faced renewed problems with its overcharging smartphones.

In September, Samsung issued a voluntary recall for its Galaxy Note7 devices after finding 35 cases of the device overheating or catching fire.

Now one of the replaced devices has faced similar issues, suggesting that the recall may have been ineffective.

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