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Apple acquires Xnor.ai for price in $200M range

XNOR.ai object recognition
XNOR.ai’s computer vision tool can recognize objects using software that resides on a smartphone rather than in the cloud. (XNOR.ai Illustration)

By Alan Boyle, Taylor Soper and Todd Bishop

Apple has acquired Xnor.ai, a Seattle startup specializing in low-power, edge-based artificial intelligence tools, sources with knowledge of the deal told GeekWire.

The acquisition echoes Apple’s high-profile purchase of Seattle AI startup Turi in 2016. Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources said Apple paid an amount similar to what was paid for Turi, in the range of $200 million.

Xnor.ai didn’t immediately respond to our inquiries, while Apple emailed us its standard response on questions about acquisitions: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” (The company sent the exact same response when we broke the Turi story.)

When we visited Xnor.ai’s office in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood this morning, a move was clearly in progress — presumably to Apple’s Seattle offices.

The arrangement suggests that Xnor’s AI-enabled image recognition tools could well become standard features in future iPhones and webcams.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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