Microsoft Acquires AI Startup Maluuba to Tackle Google and Facebook

by January 16, 2017 0 comments

Microsoft has acquired Maluuba, a Montreal startup focused on making machines able to think the way people do.

According to the blog published on the company website Maluuba said, “Microsoft is an excellent match for the company and their ambitious vision of democratizing AI to empower every person and every organization on the planet fundamentally aligns with how we see our technology being used. Microsoft provides us the opportunity to deliver our work to the billions of consumer and enterprise users that can benefit from the advent of truly intelligent machines. In addition, Microsoft’s immense technical resources including back-end infrastructure (i.e. Microsoft’s Azure and GPU infrastructure) and engineering talent will help us accelerate our pace in conducting research and bringing solutions to market. In short, our new partnership enables us to advance more quickly toward our vision of creating literate machines.”

Microsoft did not disclose financial terms of the acquisition.

“Maluuba’s vision is to advance toward a more general artificial intelligence by creating literate machines that can think, reason and communicate like humans — a vision exactly in line with ours,” Microsoft artificial intelligence and research group executive vice president Harry Shum said in a blog post.

“I’m incredibly excited about the scenarios that this acquisition could make possible in conversational AI.”

All the major tech giants like Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft are all aiming to develop the most sophisticated connected assistant — working to give software the ability to understand what people say and even anticipate desires or needs.

CES this year was hot on AI and many companies showcased their products at the largest consumer electronics show. Ford which had announced Alexa integration last year is going to roll out its Alexa powered car by the end of this month.

Samsung’s smart refrigerator, which acts as a connected hub — with a voice activation system unveiled at CES — uses the South Korean giant’s Tizen operating system.

At CES, Chinese giant Baidu showcased its own virtual assistant “Little Fish” which will debut in China this year.

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