Samsung says ‘how do you like them apples?’ with Viv acquisition

That was quick! Just days after Google threw Samsung under a bus by going it alone with the AI-powered Pixel handset, Samsung has got its retaliation in.

‘All about AI is it Google?’ Samsung seemed to say. ‘OK we’ll buy our own one then – how do you like them apples?’ It then flounced off to the nearest M&A singles bar and chatted up the first AI platform it could find, which happened to be Viv. The next morning they woke up, hungover and self-concious, exchanged numbers and decided to keep in touch.

The really funny bit about Viv is that it was founded by the same people – Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham – who created Siri and then sold it to Apple. It turns out that Apple was ahead of the curve with that acquisition but, having done little with it since its launch in 2011, has allowed the chasing pack to catch up.

Google has gone big on AI with its new Assistant, which promises to free users from the burden of thinking while mapping every facet of their lives to better flog them stuff. With the acquisition of Siri mark two Samsung is saying two (or three) can play at that game.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung Electronics, who you can also see speaking in the video below, followed by a great scene from a great film.

“Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control.”

“At Viv, we’re building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere,” said Kittlaus. “We see a future that is decidedly beyond apps – where you can get what you need quickly and easily no matter where you are, or what device you are near,” “Samsung offers us a unique opportunity to deliver a single conversational interface to the world’s apps and services across a diverse range of products, at global scale.”

Developing its own AI platform isn’t just a way at getting back at Google for going it alone on smartphones. Google, Apple and Amazon are all making major plays for the smart home with AI at the center and Samsung has its own plans for that sector. Samsung has been trying to get out of Google’s shadow for years and the Pixel launch has given it all the excuse it needs.

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