SwiftKey Latest Microsoft Acquisition in Cloud and AI Apps

March 4, 2016 - 2 minutes read


Microsoft recently added another feather to its cap in their ongoing drive to build presence in the cloud productivity arena with their acquisition of SwiftKey, a mobile app that replaces the native keyboard on iOS and Android devices with a smarter, faster alternative. The London mobile app development company turned heads in the mobile development community with their claim that they’d saved users close to 10 trillion keystrokes with their language prediction technology — a collective 100,000 years of typing time.

Other mobile app developers in the predictive technology arena are eager to hear how much Microsoft paid for the acquisition. While SwiftKey and Microsoft have yet to make a statement, TechCrunch reported a reputable source citing a $250 million figure.

The company pulled approximately $20 million in venture capital prior to the deal, with sources including comedian Stephen Fry and Index Ventures. Fry isn’t the first celebrity to get on the SwiftKey bandwagon; SwiftKey’s involvement with developing an enhanced communication for Stephen Hawking. On-the-go mobile app developers will be amused to note that while SwiftKey’s primary audience suffers from sloppy, rushed typing, the algorithm had to be tweaked significantly to better fit Hawking’s accurate and highly considered typing style.

Microsoft has reassured mobile app developers and regular users that future development of SwiftKey will include the iOS and Android multi-platform coverage that’s helped push the service to popularity. Needless to say, it will also be integrated into Windows offerings, although the details of those integrations remain to be seen. Said the SwiftKey co-founders in a post to their company blog, “Our number one focus has always been to build the best possible products for our users. This will not change.”

Overall, the move seems to be part of Microsoft’s big-picture move to lay stake to the cloud productivity market, and fits nicely with other recent acquisitions including Acompli and Wunderlist. The question for mobile app developers is, how will Microsoft stack against Google’s cloud AI offerings in the long run?

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