The voice-recognition feature Siri has been one of the primary smartphone accessories prompting high demand for Apple's new iPhone 4S. In what may be a move to compete with Apple, online retailer Amazon recently completed the purchase of a small company called Yap, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, which provides a service similar to Siri.

According to the Atlantic, Amazon has not made any public announcement of the acquisition. All reports appear to indicate that Amazon does not wish to attract undue attention with it. In the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission confirming the acquisition, Yap is listed as having merged with a company called "Dion Acquisition Sub," headquartered at an address occupied by an Amazon building in Seattle, Washington.

The news source reports that Yap began in 2006 and has been quietly developing its service ever since. Charlotte has a reputation as a city ideal for start-up businesses, and Yap's development seems to continue that trend.

Amazon does not offer any products using voice control, unlike Apple and Google. Integrating this technology into one of its products could be what the company needs to make it a stronger competitor against its rivals, and the Inquirer reports that Yap is likely to be included in the Kindle Fire tablet computer and possibly the lower-end Kindle e-readers.