Samsung has acquired Viv, the AI system developed by the original creators of Siri, TechCrunch reports. Siri was originally a company acquired by Apple in 2010, which was developed into Apple’s own integrated voice assistant of the same name. A little over a year later, Siri’s co-founder and CEO, Doug Kittlaus, left Apple to pursue new opportunities, ultimately founding Viv Labs in 2012. A demonstration of Viv was shown at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY conference earlier this year — the demo revealed a more conversational and personal system that allows users to interact with multiple services through an open developer platform, allowing for more complex queries than Siri can typically handle. Viv also incorporates a “dynamic program generation” feature that allows it to better understand user intent and build routines to handle tasks on the fly.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Kittlaus described his reasons for selling to Samsung as “ubiquity,” which has been Viv’s stated goal all along. Kittlaus explained that Samsung ships 500 million devices per year, giving Viv the power to greatly expand its presence, and that its visions are “completely aligned” with those of Samsung. From Samsung’s side, of course, the acquisition of Viv will give them an actual competitor with Apple’s Siri, as well as their own unique competitor distinct from Google’s Assistant, as Samsung continues to work on charting their own software path. That said, Viv remains in the prototype stages and has not yet launched as a final product; Viv Labs will continue to operate as an independent company providing services to Samsung in order to integrate the software into Samsung’s mobile platform.