Apple has furthered its interest in Machine Learning with a new acquisition, Indian big data firm Tuplejump. Tuplejump is a company specializing in managing big data, with its most visible project being the open source FiloDB project, which applies machine learning and analytics to large and complex streamed data sets.
This is Apple’s third recent AI acquisition, after Turi Inc. and Emotient. Apple is not commenting, and there’s not a lot of information available. It appears that the initial deal may have been struck as early as June, but it was reported by TechCrunch as recent (Apple acquires another machine learning company: Tuplejump). Apple’s most visible use of AI is in its Siri virtual assistant product line, but the company is investing in a wide range of IoT projects that will use machine learning, including watches and automobiles.
A key issue with small startup purchases in these areas is the “acqui-hire” value, where the real object of acquisition is the personnel. This is particularly critical in technology areas where there is an existing or perceived skills shortage. Most of Tuplejump’s 16 employees were already located on the US West Coast, and the principals had already been working with Apple, so the acquisition points more to how the battle for AI and Analytics talent is being waged than to the specifics of the Tuplejump solution.