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Apple buys out machine learning firm Tuplejump [u]

Apple has bought out India's Tuplejump, its fourth machine learning acquisition in the space of a year, a report said on Thursday. [Updated with additional information]

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," a spokesperson said in a boilerplate statement to TechCrunch. The terms of the acquisition are unknown, as is Apple's exact motivation.

Citing rumors, though, TechCrunch said that Apple was most interested in FiloDB, an open-source project applying machine learning — including analytics — to large quantities of incoming data. That project is expected to live on independently past Tuplejump's acquisition, since it already has its own repository and it's been recently updated.

Apple has made significant investments in machine learning, not only buying Perceptio in 2015 and Emotient and Turi earlier this year, but creating a dedicated division. Rather than producing machine learning technologies wholesale, though, the group builds tools that other teams can use to develop their own.

Tuplejump's concepts could be applied to cloud services, which are taking on increasing importance at Apple — among them Siri, iTunes, the App Store, and Apple Music. iCloud Drive is deeply integrated into macOS Sierra, which was launched earlier this week.

Update: Though it went unnoticed until now, the takeover actually happened in June, according to a Bloomberg source. Tuplejump founder Rohit Rai began working for Apple in May and is now living in Seattle, where Turi was located.

In fact Tuplejump had just a dozen workers, a number of whom were already based on the U.S. west coast.