Apple (AAPL) Poaches Amazon (AMZN) Search Guru Stasior to Head Siri Department: Report

Apple (AAPL) has hired Amazon (AMZN) executive and veteran search technologist William Stasior to run its Siri unit, reports Kara Swisher at All Things D.

Stasior, a former AltaVista exec who joined Amazon in 2003 and run A9, a unit of the Seattle-based online retail giant handling search and related advertising, will head the division that is building out Apple’s famous mobile app that allows users to perform Web searches by voice command on a smartphone. Apple acquired the voice-recognition search technology in 2008 and then began including it in the iPhone, iPad and iPod devices.

Stasior, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will fill the void left by Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer when he left last month. According to Swisher, Stasior could end up “strengthening Apple’s search and search advertising technology in the wake of its increasing competition with Google (GOOG).”

Stasior’s fields of expertise include natural language processing, information retrieval and machine learning.

Apple acquired Siri in April of 2010 to amass a big stake in voice-activated search. While the price tag was never disclosed, many speculated the start-up sold for $200 million.

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