A pair of notable shuffles were made over the last month when it comes to talent within Apple. Bloomberg reports that Apple has hired a former YouTube employee for social and video efforts, while VentureBeat reports that Facebook has snatched up a Siri language chief from Apple.
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First off, Apple has reportedly hired Vijay Karunamurthy, who worked on early versions of YouTube and went on to found foodie app “Nom.” The report explains that Apple didn’t acquire Nom itself and that it’s unclear if any other talent from the team is joining Apple. Notably, the app was cofounded by Steve Chen, who was also an early YouTube employee. Nom was backed by actor and musician Jared Leto, as well as PSY, the South Korean artist made famous for “Gangnam Style.”
At Apple, Karunamurthy will likely put his experience to work for social and video features, two areas in which Apple has a vested interest.
Meanwhile, Apple’s Siri team has recently lost a notable piece of talent. Venturebeat reports that Rushin Shah has left his position as a senior machine learning manager at Apple, joining Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning team. According to his LinkedIn profile, Shah will be working on natural language and dialog understanding at Facebook. As for his reasoning for leaving Apple, Shah explained that he is looking for a “new challenge” and is “incredibly excited to join Facebook.
After 5 amazing years at Siri, I’ve decided to move on. I started at Facebook AML today, where I’ll be working on natural language and dialog understanding.
I’ve been fortunate to work on incredibly exciting, hard and impactful problems at Siri, and I’ve had the honor to work with and learn from a ton of terrific people; I can’t express how grateful I am for for that. But it’s time for a new challenge, and I’m incredibly excited to join AML and work with the stellar folks there as well as elsewhere in Facebook, and for the opportunity to work on a variety of products that impact more than a billion users everyday :)
The departure of Shah comes at a pivotal time for Siri, with the HomePod standalone speaker launching later this year and a host of improvements coming with Siri in iOS 11. Apple also faces increased competition from Google and Alexa in the artificial intelligence battle, and some say the company’s focus on privacy may be hurting it.