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Fri, Apr 30, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Apple to buy Siri, maker of mobile apps

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Apple Inc, maker of the iPhone and iPad, agreed to buy mobile-­application developer Siri Inc to gain technology that lets users do Web searches from their phones by talking to them.

Siri makes a voice-recognition and search program it describes as a virtual personal assistant and began offering it for the iPhone this year.

The acquisition agreement has been signed and the deal hasn’t closed yet, said Shawn Carolan, a managing director at Siri investor Menlo Ventures.

“The offer from Apple had to be very compelling for the executive team and the board to accept,” Carolan, who sits on Siri’s board, said in an interview.

He declined to disclose the terms.

Apple competes with RIM Ltd’s BlackBerry and devices running Google Inc’s software in smartphones.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans,” Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Apple announced the acquisition of Intrinsity, a designer of semiconductors, after buying mobile-ad network Quattro Wireless in January.

Siri lets users interact with their phone via voice or text, letting them ask for information about movies, restaurants, events and the weather, its Web site says.

“They’ve pioneered this category of virtual personal assistant,” Carolan said. “You talk to the phone — you tell it what to do, what you need, and it goes and does things for you.”

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