Apple Could Be on a Hiring Spree to Boost Siri’s Appeal

April 2, 2018, 4:53 PM UTC

Apple is in the hunt for employees with a knack for building smarter virtual personal assistants.

The tech giant has 161 openings currently for jobs related to its virtual personal assistant Siri, job-tracking company Thinknum has reported. In a statement, Thinknum said that Siri-related job openings at Apple have “accelerated in recent weeks” and are now at an all-time high. The company’s findings were earlier reported on by Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac.

Apple is in a serious fight for virtual assistant dominance against Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana. Although opinions are split, most industry watchers (including yours truly) believe Alexa and Google Assistant provide a generally more appealing user experience. Alexa, for instance, has more capabilities, thanks to its tens of thousands of third-party “skills” from companies as far-reaching as Uber and Domino’s. It’s also generally smarter in my testing.

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Siri, meanwhile, has been popping up in more places. The feature, which has been available on iPhones, iPads, and Macs for years, is now also running on Apple’s HomePod smart speaker. Apple has also made Siri available to other companies to bundle in their products and apps.

All of that, coupled with the competitive challenge, might be prompting Apple to invest heavily in Siri-focused hires.

According to the report, Apple is actively seeking a variety of software engineers for Siri. The company is also after machine learning and natural language processing employees. The vast majority of the jobs will be at Apple’s new Apple Park headquarters. The company also has some Siri-related openings in San Francisco, Calif. and Shanghai, according to Thinknum.

Apple job listings on its website show a large number of Siri openings. The company did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on the new listings.

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