Apple is continuously losing employees from its original Siri team. After a few key departures in recent weeks, there is hardly anybody from the original team left. Darren Haas, one of the last members of the original Siri team, has also left the iPhone maker for General Electric, said The Information on Wednesday.
Viv a potential rival to Siri
Haas will be working with Steve D’Aurora, another ex-Siri team member who resigned a few weeks ago from Apple to join GE. A few days ago, a team of ex-Siri personnel unveiled a new advanced virtual assistant named Viv, which aims to offer much broader functionalities than Apple’s Siri.
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The team demonstrated several tasks that can be performed with the help of Viv, such as buying flowers from FTD, ordering a car from Uber, ordering tickets from a variety of services, and coming up with intelligent, contextual responses, such as alternatives when a show time for a movie is sold out.
Apple’s purchase of Siri in 2010 included two key acqui-hires: D’Angelo and Haas. This technology debuted on the iPhone 4s and now is integrated into all current iOS devices to support various functions ranging from creating calendar entries to answering basic questions that users ask. Still, there is a lot more that it can do apart from its current feature set developed under Apple.
Why is the team leaving Apple?
Prior to its acquisition, Siri integrated with a number of e-commerce providers ranging from movie tickets to food orders. Siri co-creator Dag Kittklaus says the company had to strip away those partnerships as a result of decisions by co-founder Steve Jobs.
Previously, there were reports of clashes between the Siri team and Apple’s management, and in particular, they have been in dispute with the team that oversees Apple’s iCloud services. Apparently Apple decided to extend the Siri cloud computing platform to include services falling under the iCloud team’s banner, such as iTunes and iMessages. It is said that some raised doubts about job security after this transition.
Kittklaus too has left the company, along with Adam Cheyer, to work on the Viv. Kittlaus showed off Viv at an onstage demo at Disrupt NYC earlier this week. Siri is known for answering queries and reminding people of tasks, but Viv promises to do a lot more than that.
Gabriel Consulting Group analyst Dan Olds notes, “Assuming we can take the founders at their word, Viv is more than just an evolutionary step in the development of personal assistants. It’s a game changer.”