Chipmaker, Intel, has set the scene for a tussle in the virtual assistant market following its purchase of Ginger Software's virtual assistant platform and the assets and people associated with Ginger's natural language processing (NLP) technologies.
Intel is believed to have paid around $30 million for the Israeli startup's assets and as a result looks likely to be heading for a collision with Apple in the virtual assistant market.
The acquisition looks to have been aimed specifically at enabling an entry into the vitual assistant marketplace as Intel hasn't bought Ginger's Intelligent Grammar and Spell Checker technologies, leaving Ginger to continue their development.
Given Siri's success for Apple and its role in helping to drive iPhone sales, this move by Intel is likely to be used to drive sales of its chipsets. The chip manufacturer will be able to offer the virtual assistant platform for free to hardware manufacturers provding them with a greater incentive to use Intel's chips.
The purchase is not all about virtual assistants however, as Intel's Jarvis bluetooth headset will make the ideal recipient for the NLP assets that it has bought. Unlike Apple's Siris, which must be online to work, Jarvis is able to operate offline, processing voice commands locally. Both the NLP and virtual assistant assets that Intel now owns will be ideal for taking Jarvis further.