updated 04:07 pm EDT, Mon October 15, 2012
Search exec hire could be meant to boost Siri's capabilities
Apple has reportedly brought on William Stasior, an executive at Amazon who runs A9, Amazon's search and search advertising unit. Stasior will now take over the unit within Apple dedicated to its Siri digital assistant. The hire is thought to be aimed at improving Siri's search capabilities, and observers note that it could signal a stronger move into Internet search for Apple, a company that has typically relied on third-party services to power search in its devices.
AllThingsD cites unnamed sources in reporting on the hire, which has not yet been announced by Apple. Stasior's LinkedIn account still lists him as the president and CEO at A9.com.
Stasior has run A9 since founding the company in February of 2006. Prior to that, he had worked as director of search and navigation at Amazon and director of advanced development at AltaVista.
A9's mission is to "create groundbreaking technologies in search, advertising, and mobile that power customer centric Internet businesses." The company is a fully-owned subsidiary of Amazon, headquartered in Palo Alto, with roughly 200 employees in operations around the world. It handles the core search service, advertising services, and image recognition technologies for Amazon.com and other websites.
The hire may mean that Apple is looking to significantly increase Siri's search capabilities. Apple's digital assistant remains more advanced than most comparable offerings on competitors' devices, but Google's Google Now project is gaining ground, and Siri's results are still found to be inferior to a simple Google search. Apple currently relies on Wolfram Alpha for some of Siri's functionality.