You are currently viewing We may have Microsoft to thank for Apple's AI push – Business Insider

We may have Microsoft to thank for Apple's AI push – Business Insider

  • Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot is partly responsible for bringing a focus on generative AI to Apple, a report says.
  • Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering became a “convert” after trying it, per The Wall Street Journal.
  • Apple execs were also impressed by ChatGPT and subsequently wanted to upgrade Siri, The New York Times previously reported. 

An Apple exec was inspired to drive a focus on generative AI in his division after using one such tool from the competition, a new report says.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, became a “convert” over the 2022 Christmas break after using GitHub Copilot, an AI code completion tool, according to a Wall Street Journal article published Wednesday, citing people familiar with his experience. GitHub was acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion back in 2018.

Federighi subsequently asked employees in his software engineering division to devise ways to integrate generative AI into products, former engineers and execs told the Journal.

In other words, we might have Microsoft’s GitHub to thank for Apple seeing the light on AI — at least in part. It’s not the first time competitors’ generative AI tools reportedly motivated Apple to work on its own.

Federighi and John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, decided Siri needed an upgrade after spending weeks using ChatGPT themselves, The New York Times reported last month, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Apple hopes generative AI will help Siri perform better at existing tasks and take on new ones, like summarizing texts and chatting, the Times reported, citing three sources familiar with Apple’s work.

Apple is expected to make some sort of AI announcement at WWDC, its annual developers conference, on Monday.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.