Tuesday, October 16, 2012

(BN) Apple Adds Amazon’s Stasior for Siri Voice-Recognition Group

Apple Inc. (AAPL) hired Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) executive William Stasior to lead its Siri voice-recognition software group.

Stasior, who had run a unit of Seattle-based Amazon handling search and related advertising, will head the group that is building out the voice-activated personal assistant that Apple added to its iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices last year, said Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, introduced Siri after buying a startup of the same name in 2010. The software understands users' questions and provides answers by voice and Web links on a device's screen. Members of the Siri team that came over in the acquisition have since left Apple, including former CEO Dag Kittlaus and co-founder Adam Cheyer.

The personal assistant was the most heavily marketed feature of the iPhone 4S, with Apple hiring actors including Samuel L. Jackson and John Malkovich for commercials. Some customers have complained that the software doesn't work as well as advertised, with one even filing a lawsuit.

Last month, Apple added to the technology with the introduction of its most recent mobile operating system, called iOS 6, building in the ability to search for sports scores, movie times and make restaurant reservations with voice commands.

Sally Fouts, a spokeswoman for Amazon, declined to comment. Stasior's move was earlier reported by AllThingsD.

At Amazon, Stasior was in charge of developing new search and advertising technology. The unit had about 200 employees, according to a copy of his resume. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he previously worked for search-engine creator AltaVista and Oracle Corp. (ORCL).

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