Bill Stasior, who led Apple’s Siri efforts for several years, has joined Microsoft to lead an AI group under CTO Kevin Scott.
News of Stasior’s hiring was first reported by The Information, and has since been confirmed by Microsoft, which says only that “he will work to help align technology strategies across the company.” And, no, Stasior will not be in charge of Cortana, Microsoft’s failed personal digital assistant.
Stasior joined Apple in 2011, just weeks before his boss, Scott Forstall, was fired by Tim Cook for refusing to apologize for the poor quality of Apple Maps. Following Forstall’s departure, Apple quietly stopped working to improve Siri in any meaningful way. Indeed, Forstall’s successor, Eddy Cue, was so disconnected that he would fall asleep during Siri meetings. Cue was eventually replaced by Craig Federighi, who is more technical and, one imagines, more attentive.
Well, one doesn’t need to imagine: Under Federighi’s leadership, work to improve Siri accelerated, with the firm adding the Siri Shortcuts functionality to iOS 12 in 2018. Apple is adding more natural voices to Siri starting with iOS 13 this fall, as well.
Stasior stepped away from day-to-day management of Siri in December 2018 for unspecified reasons, but he stayed on at Apple until May.