Microsoft has appointed Bill Stasior, who was in charge of the Siri virtual assistant at iPhone maker Apple, as part of the strategy to boost artificial intelligence business.
Microsoft confirmed that Bill Stasior will be corporate vice president of technology in the office of the chief technology officer, Kevin Scott.
The hiring of Bill Stasior underlines Microsoft’s focus under CEO Satya Nadella on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), CNBC reported.
Microsoft in 2016 established the Artificial Intelligence and Research engineering group in a reorganization. Microsoft later added AI to its list of top priorities, its annual report said.
Last year Microsoft placed some AI teams in the group working on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud. Microsoft has made AI acquisitions that have brought in additional talent, including Bonsai, Lobe and Semantic Machines.
Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Bill Stasior will work to align technology strategies across the company starting in August.
Bill Stasior was vice president for AI and Siri when he left Apple in May. He had been at Apple since 2012. He expanded the team from 70 engineers to more than 1,100 people and that he played the leading role in bringing modern machine learning to Siri and Apple.
Apple said in 2018 that Siri was being actively used on more than 500 million devices, and earlier this year the company said that Siri would sound more natural in the forthcoming iOS 13 release.
Bill Stasior was also one of the top executives at Amazon. He previously worked at AltaVista and Oracle.
Javier Soltero, the person who was leading the Microsoft’s Siri competitor, Cortana, left last year. Microsoft earlier this year decoupled Cortana from the search box in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.