Sunday Op-Ed: Apple/Siri — What’s It Mean?
We’ve been getting lots of questions about Apple’s acquisition of voice search processing start-up Siri. A report is in the works for BIA/Kelsey subscribers but here’s a “thumbnail.”
First, it signals a vote of confidence for the company and the field of voice search. It comes just six months after Siri launched its iPhone app (our writeup here) and carries a rumored $200 million price tag that would be the largest amount to date paid for an app developer.
It also further signals Apple’s desire to deliver content and search. In this respect, it can be seen as parallel to Apple’s acquisition of geospatial mapping data provider Placebase. That acquisition indicates internal development of a mapping and local search product that could relieve Apple of its dependence on Google maps on the iPhone.
Similarly, Siri will not only give Apple a stronger position in the growing field of voice search (and local), but it will likewise position it with a proprietary technology where it currently relies on growing rival Google. Google, as you may know, has the leading voice search app on the iPhone.
Specifically, we believe Siri will bring Apple a standard default voice search app on future iPhones. But perhaps more importantly, it will enable speech processing to be incorporated across its apps and more deeply into the operating system. The latter is precisely where Google’s ambitions for Android lie.
Altogether, these moves shine a light on Apple’s course. Just as the Quattro acquisition led to the landmark iAd launch, these buys will soon bring tangible Apple products to the table. These two in particular should be linchpins in Apple’s move toward becoming a more broadly defined mobile hardware and software powerhouse.
Related: AT&T’s flagship local search app YPmobile this week integrated voice search functionality.