Study says Tech Behemoths are Gobbling Up Smaller Companies in Quest for Better AI

As the new era of the Internet of Things opens up more and more options for business to cash in on, tech giants are getting more hungry for artificial intelligence (AI). AI is the aspect that drives the Internet of Things.

According to a recet report from analysis firm CB Insights, a large number of U.S. tech behemoths like Alphabet’s Google and iPhone maker Apple have been quietly snapping up dozens of artificial intelligence companies over the last five years in a race to create the best AI solutions in an increasingly hot sector.

A trend that’s been evolving for years is now bathed in some new light by the data in the report prepared by the firm. CB noted that since 2011 and including all the acquisitions and buyouts that happened this year, nearly 140 private companies working to advance AI technology have been acquired.

CB Insights noted that in order to provide information quickly and reliably and technology that can understand users’ needs, tech companies appear to be locked in a fierce competition to create such autonomous technology. And the list is long – from Google’s Assistant to Apple’s Siri; Microsoft’s Cortana to Facebook chatbots. CB said that companies like AOL, IBM and Yahoo were also among the acquirers in addition to those mentioned above.

Very recently Microsoft created an artificial intelligence unit of its own and this is reflective of the Silicon Valley making increasingly aggressive inroads into AI. This CB report comes amidst such an environment in the industry.

The research firm Tractica estimates that is hot market will balloon from $643.7 million in 2016 revenues to $38.8 billion by 2025.

CB noted that with 11 low-key acquisitions in the category, Google has been the most prominent global player., a platfom used to develop chatbots, was picked up by the tech giant in its most recent acquisitions. The company objective was to give each individual user their own Google, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said earlier this year.

And home device installed with its AI software and a high end smartphone  – Pixel, was unveiled and launched by Google as early as last week. The next opportunity is building hardware and software together for better AI, believes Google, the company has said. The strategic move pitted the company against Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

Intel and Apple are among the corporate giants that are following closely in purchasing AI companies. According to CB Insights, IT companies Turi and Tuplejump were recently acquired by Apple – a company that is usually quite about its acquisitions and planning. An start-up called Emotient which has developed technology that can detect emotions was acquired earlier this year by Apple.

Amid a growing controversy over reports that its premium Galaxy Note 7 battery was exploding, Samsunng snapped up startup Viv Labs, indicating that the South Korean giant does not want to be left behind in the race.

(Adapted from CNBC)


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