Apple acquires tech company that developed ‘Hello Barbie’ for $30 million.
According to a recent press release, global tech giant Apple has acquired the tech startup behind ‘Hello Barbie’, PullString. PullString is the tech startup that was founded in the year 2011 by former employees of Pixar. The voice technology company created ‘Hello Barbie’ in 2015.
‘ToyTalk’ is an interactive AI system that allows users to create physical and digital characters. ‘Hello Barbie’ was the most popular of all the characters on the platform. Thomas, The Tank Engine is also another character on the platform. Users could have interesting conversations with these characters powered by artificial intelligence.
The tech startup also developed software that made app development easy for everyone. People who aren’t tech savvy could use the platform to create Alexa apps.
As reported by Axios, Apple acquired the startup for about $30 million as upfront payment and promised to add $10 million for management after potential earn-outs. The acquisition has not yet been formally announced by Apple. So, it’s not clear what Apple wants to do with the technology at this time. It’s possible that Apple wants to give its users software that they can use to easily create Siri apps without help from a tech expert. If this is the plan, Apple’s Siri may become a stronger competition for Google Assistant and Alexa.
It’s also possible that Apple is planning to give users the power to create interactives like ‘Hello Barbie’. The ‘Hello Barbie’ interactive became popular in a short time but it also got a lot of criticism. Many people saw it as a surveillance tool following the report from security researchers of potential vulnerabilities on the software. Since consumers are more used to the concept of listening and voice command devices, a new product may not attract too much criticism.