Amazon.com may have started as an online book vendor but it has transformed itself into a juggernaut and it may be eyeing direct competition with Apple in the future. It turns out Amazon quietly purchased the Charlotte, NC based voice recognition specialist Yap through a subsidiary.
Neither Yap nor Amazon has still publicized the deal. It was initially unearthed by The Atlantic based on SEC filings of Yap merging with a company called “Dion Acquisition Sub” which happens to be headquartered in an Amazon property.
So is Amazon making a bid to compete with Siri, Apple’s brand new virtual personal assistant? That is certainly not the case with the Kindle Fire right now, as that device does not even come equipped with a microphone. However, Yap’s Intellectual Property Rights are significant and the technology can be incorporated on future Kindle Fire tablets.
Also, as of right now, Siri and Yap are not even competing technologies as Yap is more of a transcription software whereas Siri is a “virtual assistant”, i.e. artificial intelligent. Yap is meant to take the transcription of speech to text and can then be used for search, commands, or direct output into documents.
What this all means is that it is not at all clear what Amazon’s line of thinking is with Yap. Are they actually gearing up for the next generation of Kindle Fires to go head-to-head with the next generation of iPads? Perhaps, and more intriguingly, maybe they are thinking about an Amazon phone? Now that would be something! If they are willing to enter into the tablet market then it’s not quite crazy to think they may enter the cellular phone market as well.