Apple has reportedly acquired voice app startup PullString. Axios reported last night that Cupertino has picked up the voice app startup as part of a $30 million deal.
PullString was originally founded by a group of former Pixar executives back in 2011. The company is mostly known for offering technology used to power interactive voice apps for toys like Hello Barbie, and it even faced a privacy controversy back in 2015.
PullString has since changed its strategy, offering developer tools that are used to design and build voice apps for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The company claims it offers “everything your org needs” to build voice apps “in minutes”. It also offers publishing tools for developers to get their apps on the respect Alexa and Assistant marketplaces.
Apple’s acquisition of PullString will likely lead to Siri picking up something similar to Alexa Skills. Although Siri has gained a lot of power with Shortcuts in iOS 12, the personal assistant’s compatibility with third-party services continues to fall behind that of Alexa or Assistant. It’s likely Apple will use PullString’s tech to offer some sort of tool that makes it easy for developers to make integrations for Siri. It’ll be interesting to see if PullString will continue to offer tools for Alexa and Assistant, though both Apple and PullString are yet to officially announce the acquisition.