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Amazon buys voice recognition startup Yap to counter Apple's Siri

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
As competition between Amazon and Apple in the mobile devices market continues to grow, the online retailer has purchased a voice-to-text company called Yap.

A new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission discovered by The Atlantic reveals that Amazon's acquisition of Yap was completed in September. The filing does not specifically name Amazon, but lists "Dion Acquisition Sub," headquartered out of an Amazon-owned building in Seattle, Wash.

Yap offered a consumer-level voicemail-to-text service in private beta, but it was the company's proprietary intellectual property that helped it raise $6.5 million in venture capital in 2008. Yap is based out of Charlotte, N.C., and the service was discontinued in October following the apparent acquisition by Amazon.

Apple acquired Siri, which previously made an iPhone application, in April of 2010 for a rumored $200 million. Now found on the iPhone 4S, Siri allows users to speak to it in natural language to gather information or accomplish complex tasks, like composing an e-mail or creating a calendar event.

While the Siri feature is driven by technology acquired by Apple, the iPhone 4S-exclusive voice recognition software is also believed to incorporate intellectual property from Nuance Communications, makers of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Neither Apple nor Nuance have confirmed that Nuance technology is utilized in Siri.

Amazon's interest in voice recognition technology comes as the company is prepared to launch its own color touchscreen tablet, the Kindle Fire, which will go on sale next week at a price of $199, or less than half of Apple's entry-level $499 iPad.



While Apple sells devices like the iPhone and iPad with high margins and supports them with an ecosystem of content through iTunes and the App Store, Amazon's entrance into the portable hardware business with devices like the Kindle Fire employs a very different approach. Instead of making money on hardware sales, Amazon aims to tie customers into its own ecosystem of buying products through its online storefront.

Amazon admitted to investors late last month that the impending launch of the Kindle Fire could pose a threat to its future profits. One estimate issued in September suggested that Amazon is poised to lose $50 for each Kindle Fire it sells.
post #2 of 24
Speech recog sure seems like a tech whose time has come (finally).
post #3 of 24
Now that Apple has given its competitors new targets to hit, I wonder what Apple has coming next. Could be TV, but could be something else.
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post #4 of 24
Voice recognition is just one piece of the puzzle. Artificial intelligence interpreting and acting upon the recognized speech is what makes Siri so amazing.

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post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Now that Apple has given its competitors new targets to hit, I wonder what Apple has coming next. Could be TV, but could be something else.

I would stake my life that it's one of those two.
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Multiplex is an online comic strip about the staff of a movie theater.
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post #6 of 24
Figures as much. Jeff Bezos, in his typical "me too" attire, had to make an appearance. The guy is no innovator, and I'm not sure how much this lack of fore sight will ever contribute much to competitive leveraging.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcalpin View Post

I would stake my life that it's one of those two.

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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Voice recognition is just one piece of the puzzle. Artificial intelligence interpreting and acting upon the recognized speech is what makes Siri so amazing.

Siri is great (just created a reminder for 5pm today without stopping what I was doing) but it's still a long ways from being what I'd call feature complete. I imagine the difference in 4 years will be akin to comparing the original iPhone with the v1.0 OS with the iPhone 4S with iOS 5.0.

Besides the obvious adding of services to work your iOS and Mac OS devices, and upgrades to its ability to understand natural language, I'd also like the ability to interrupt it. For example, when you dictate a message it asks you if are ready to send it. If something is wrong with it you say no and then have wait for Siri to run through a list of four options and then start the mic again to let you respond to the option. If you choose 'change' then you wait a little longer for it go through agreeing to change the message so you can start again. This can become a lengthy process for even a simple message. I'd like to work more like when you call an automated service and you can hit the number before it finishes giving you all the options.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #9 of 24
I've just been wondering where all the lawsuits about Siri are. Usually, when Apple does anything interesting they get sued by 14 companies claiming it was a stolen idea. I guess the company Apple acquired had their patent ducks in a row?
post #10 of 24
I thought there was some industry-wide consensus that Siri was just some cheap Apple gimmick that consumers would use one or twice then never use it again. Why would Amazon need tech like that?
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Siri is great (just created a reminder for 5pm today without stopping what I was doing) but it's still a long ways from being what I'd call feature complete. I imagine the difference in 4 years will be akin to comparing the original iPhone with the v1.0 OS with the iPhone 4S with iOS 5.0.

Besides the obvious adding of services to work your iOS and Mac OS devices, and upgrades to its ability to understand natural language, I'd also like the ability to interrupt it. For example, when you dictate a message it asks you if are ready to send it. If something is wrong with it you say no and then have wait for Siri to run through a list of four options and then start the mic again to let you respond to the option. If you choose 'change' then you wait a little longer for it go through agreeing to change the message so you can start again. This can become a lengthy process for even a simple message. I'd like to work more like when you call an automated service and you can hit the number before it finishes giving you all the options.

As on-board processing power increases, these time delaying operations that rely on the network will lessen, as I tend to think more of them would migrate to the device itself. The imaginary iPhone of ten years from now will look more like we're talking to a virtual assistant, one that watches us and understands subtle nuances in speech and movement to derive hidden meaning and offer an intelligent course of action based on our actual intent... just like the most capable assistant you could ever imagine hiring.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by elffir View Post

I've just been wondering where all the lawsuits about Siri are. Usually, when Apple does anything interesting they get sued by 14 companies claiming it was a stolen idea. I guess the company Apple acquired had their patent ducks in a row?

Yet.

I'm sure there are companies out there scrutinizing every aspect of Siri, just looking for litigation vectors.

Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by elffir View Post

I've just been wondering where all the lawsuits about Siri are. Usually, when Apple does anything interesting they get sued by 14 companies claiming it was a stolen idea. I guess the company Apple acquired had their patent ducks in a row?

It's such a long list they still haven't finished writing it out.
post #14 of 24
"Buy this power drill."

"Buying… mauve chintz loveseat slipcover."

"NO… NO!"

"Sorry, you had One-Speak turned on."

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #15 of 24
another front in the clone wars...Siri. Soon everyone will have their own Siri clone on their iPhone/iPad clones. Still no one innovates except Apple.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

I thought there was some industry-wide consensus that Siri was just some cheap Apple gimmick that consumers would use one or twice then never use it again. Why would Amazon need tech like that?

The 'industry' always tries something 'wrong' with all the Apple products. Then they come out with a cheap copy. Bottom line, Apple doesn't do cheap gimmicks.
post #17 of 24
Why does Amazon need this technology? Will they be entering the mobile phone market? I can't imagine why someone would need this technology on a Kindle.
post #18 of 24
I can just see it.


"Ammi, find me a 25ft boat to purchase"

"Sorry ...Amazon doesn't sell boats in that size. Goodbye"

"aww shucks"
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_b View Post

Why does Amazon need this technology? Will they be entering the mobile phone market? I can't imagine why someone would need this technology on a Kindle.

Think they are diving in a little too deep now....I thought they had a right idea buy forking android and keeping the idea simple and cheap. Until I found out that they were losing big chips per unit. This isnt the gaming console industry, they arent making 80% profit on developers.

If they think they can compete technologically....I think they are in for a hurting.
post #20 of 24
Yap? As in shut yer yap? I'm thinking they better change the name.
post #21 of 24
Be patient, they are coming. Patent trolls do not sue until lots of product is sold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elffir View Post

I've just been wondering where all the lawsuits about Siri are. Usually, when Apple does anything interesting they get sued by 14 companies claiming it was a stolen idea. I guess the company Apple acquired had their patent ducks in a row?
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Be patient, they are coming. Patent trolls do not sue until lots of product is sold.

Indeed. Why demand $0.20 per device sold at 6 million sold when you can demand $0.20 per device sold at 40 million sold?

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #23 of 24
Siri

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post

If they think they can compete technologically....I think they are in for a hurting.

I think Amazon is actually one of the very few companies that can compete technologically with Apple.
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