It’s safe to say that Apple hasn’t really done much in the smart home market over the years. While its HomeKit initiative has been popular with manufacturers, the firm has arguably lost the lion’s share of consumer attention to the likes of Amazon and Alphabet. Both of those firms offer platforms that are popular, with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant, while they also offer first-party smart home devices that were the result of acquisitions. Now, Apple is reportedly looking to ramp up its smart home business, with the firm hiring a former Microsoft exec to help it penetrate the market.

Sam Jadallah may not be a household name, but for 12 years he served as Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President. He eventually left the firm in 1999 and has since been working on other projects, including a mobile analytics provider acquired by Here and a smart lock firm called Otto. That firm closed down in late 2017, but it seems that Jadallah’s passion for smart home tech hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Apple now having hired him to help lead the Home team.

Apple is currently hiring about half-a-dozen roles inside its Home team, and outside of those hires the firm is bolstering the company’s knowledge in that area. It recently acquired a start-up called Pullstring, which was behind the ‘Hello Barbie’ voice assistant. While Pullstring won’t exactly help it directly compete with Amazon’s Ring or Alphabet’s Nest, it should help improve Siri to the point that it could better compete with Alexa and the Google Assistant.

While Jadallah’s role at Apple is secretive, with his hiring unlikely to bear any fruits for quite some time, it’s easy to see the direction the iPhone maker is going in with its smart home initiative. Otto was described as the ‘Apple of smart lock manufacturers’, as it is device was sleek, simple to use and made of premium materials – which instantly earned it favour with the consumer press. Apple is likely hoping that Jadallah can replicate that success at Apple; although it’s unknown whether the firm is interested in developing a smart lock – something that is lacking from the both Ring and Nest’s line-up of products.

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