Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) just purchased Ginger Software’s personal assistant division, launching speculation that the company will have a “Ginger” to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri (NASDAQ:SIRI) and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Cortana. The news broke on Hebrew language technology website Calcalist on Friday.
While Intel is typically known for its computer and microprocessor chips that are used in a wide variety of devices, the company also produces a number of computer components, including motherboards, Ethernet cables, and software. Many components made by Intel are used in other devices. Companies ranging from Apple to Acer use Intel’s chips in their products.
Aside from its usual array of products, the company also is reportedly working on an artificial intelligence headset. The so-called Jarvis headset is a Bluetooth-enabled device that would work both on and offline. It was initially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January as a Bluetooth headset. Intel reportedly wants it to make it a rival to both Apple’s Siri and the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass device.
Ginger’s technology could be applied to an artificial intelligence product since it has the potential to provide software that could be used in the headset. The purchase of Ginger’s personal assistant division includes natural language processing software. Some speculate that it will be applied to Intel’s virtual reality project. Up to 16 people employed by Ginger may be joining Intel as a result of the deal, but no clear number has been given yet.
An Intel spokesperson told TechCrunch only that the deal occurred and what it entailed. How exactly Intel will utilize the technology and staff it will acquire has not been disclosed by either company.
“On May 8, Intel acquired natural language processing tools and applications assets from Ginger Software, and it is hiring up to 16 engineers associated with this business,” the spokesperson said to the publication. “We are not disclosing details about how Intel might use the Ginger Software technologies at this time and we are not disclosing terms of the deal.”
Intel is also not disclosing how much the deal cost. The Inquirer reports the figure may be $30 million.
Members of the Ginger unit reportedly going to work for Intel include Ginger’s founder and current CEO Yael Karov, as well as Vice President for Research and Development Micha Breakstone, who specializes in natural language programming. However, Ginger is retaining part of its business.
Ginger is retaining its Grammar and Spell Checker software, leaving the company split in two parts. One will remain Ginger, and the other will dissolve into Intel. If Ginger is no longer a suitable name for the personal assistant technology, Gilligan or another name from a certain 1960s sitcom could be an option for Intel to name the resulting products.