Microsoft just stole Apple’s Siri division head

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August 21, 2019
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It’s not often that a long-standing employee at a tech company decides to drop everything and join his rivals, but there are always exceptions, and Bill Stasior is one of them. As the head of Apple’s Siri division, he commanded immense respect as a loyal visionary who had been serving the company in the artificial intelligence department for almost a decade. However, that status is in the past now as he has joined none other than perennial rivals Microsoft.

As The Information reports, Stasior left Apple in May after working there for more than seven years. In spite of making the move back then, he has only now officially joined Microsoft as a corporate vice president, a position in which he will report to Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott. While it might be tempting to believe that an undesirable state of AI at Apple is what motivated Stasior to make the leap, the reality is very different.

As it happens, the Cupertino-based consumer electronics company acquired John Giannandrea, the head of Artificial Intelligence and Search at Google, last year. This changed the way Apple dealt with AI, and as a result of a new system taking shape, Stasior had no choice but to look for a position elsewhere, especially after Giannandrea was promoted to senior vice president in December.

Since Stasior primarily worked on Siri during his time at Apple, one might assume that he will take up the responsibility of dealing with Cortana at Microsoft. However, The Information report suggests that this won’t be the case. It is no secret that the company struggles in the AI department, especially when its progress is compared to Google and Amazon, so there is a need to revamp the overall department. Stasior is going to lead an AI group, and even though it’s not yet clear what he will be working on, this is clearly the right move for Microsoft’s fortunes in AI.

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