Apple Buys Voysis, an AI Startup Focused on Voice Assistants

Voysis runs a software platform that improves voice assistants used in online shopping.
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Apple has acquired an artificial intelligence startup that focuses on digital voice assistants, according to a published report Friday.

The Dublin-based startup, called Voysis, developed a platform aimed at helping voice assistants better understand natural language. Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report shares closed 1.44% lower on Friday at $241.41.

Voysis's platform is particularly focused on online shopping apps, according to a company webpage that's now been taken down. The webpage indicated that its software could help narrow search results from shopping-related commands, such as requests to find a new TV within a specific budget range. 

Terms of the deal, first reported by Bloomberg, weren't disclosed. Earlier this week, Apple bought Dark Sky, a popular app for detailed weather conditions and forecasts. 

Voysis was founded in 2012 and raised $8 million in venture capital, according to data from Crunchbase. 

Apple typically doesn't discuss the reasoning behind its acquisitions. But its own voice assistant, Siri, has been criticized for lagging behind competitors such as Amazon's  (AMZN) - Get Report Alexa and Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report Assistant in the accuracy and sophistication of how it responds to voice commands. 

Voysis has also indicated previously that it managed to shrink its software such that it uses up very little memory when installed. As a startup, it provided its software to other technology companies that build apps and voice assistants. 

Apple has bought up a number of AI-focused startups in recent years, with Turi, Xnor.ai, and Laserlike among its notable AI acquisitions. 

Year to date, Apple shares have fallen close to 20% amid concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Apple's device production and sales.