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Microsoft confirms it has acquired SwiftKey, creators of a predictive mobile keyboard app

After a day of rumors, Microsoft has now confirmed that it has acquired SwiftKey, a London-based association behind a renouned predictive keyboard app of a same name.

Terms of a understanding were not disclosed, though according to a Financial Times news yesterday, Microsoft was looking to compensate in a segment of $250 million for a startup.

Founded in 2008, SwiftKey grown a plain repute on Android over a series of years as a deputy keyboard app on phones and tablets. It learns your essay character over time to speed adult typing, and even predicts a subsequent word before you’ve started typing it — this is partly formed on chronological patterns, though it also scans texts from other sources to “learn” renouned orders in that difference are routinely placed. SwiftKey finally launched for iOS in late 2014 after Apple non-stop up to third-party, system-wide keyboards.

Though SwiftKey is improved famous for a consumer keyboard app on Google Play and a App Store, a association also offers a program growth kit (SDK) for third-parties to confederate a language-learning record into their possess services. Indeed, SwiftKey carries out a lot of investigate internally involving synthetic intelligence, machine-learning, and natural-language estimate (NLP), and it’s this that Microsoft is appropriation — not a consumer app that creates comparatively tiny amounts of income by in-app purchases.

SwiftKey’s backend has been used in a series of engaging use-cases. Back in 2014, a association revealed it had been operative with venerable physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who suffers from a debilitating engine neuron illness (MND) that has left him roughly wholly paralyzed, to help him promulgate twice as fast. SwiftKey had been operative behind a scenes for dual years with Hawking to rise record privately for him.

And behind in October, SwiftKey suggested it was working on a new initial app that uses synthetic neural networks (ANNs) to envision and scold language. ANNs are partial of a broader margin of appurtenance training and synthetic intelligence. It’s some-more closely aligned with a workings of a tellurian brain, and from SwiftKey’s viewpoint it should capacitate improved predictions on what you’re going to write.

It’s also value observant here that SwiftKey syncs a learnings from any user in a cloud, so a some-more platforms we use SwiftKey on, a smarter it gets. And this was executive to Microsoft’s seductiveness in shopping a company. Indeed, Microsoft has been pulling a cloud certification of late, with arch executive Satya Nadella announcing final Jun that formulating “the intelligent cloud platform” is one of a company’s 3 pivotal investment areas — acquisitions have proven pivotal for this change in direction.

“In this cloud-first, mobile-first world, SwiftKey’s record aligns with a prophesy for some-more personal computing practice that expect a needs contra responding to a commands, and directly supports a aspiration to reinvent capability by leveraging a intelligent cloud,” explained Harry Shum, executive clamp president, record and research, during Microsoft. “SwiftKey estimates that a users have saved scarcely 10 trillion keystrokes, opposite 100 languages, saving some-more than 100,000 years in total typing time. Those are considerable formula for an app that launched primarily on Android in 2010 and arrived on iOS reduction than dual years ago.”

SwiftKey, as it stands, will be going nowhere. The app will continue to be grown for Android and iOS, though a underlying record will start to back a conduct opposite Microsoft’s operation of products. This will embody Microsoft’s Word Flow keyboard which recently seemed on iOS to most acclaim.

So while a SwiftKey merger is about “keyboard apps” to a degree, Microsoft wouldn’t have paid a reported $250 million usually for that. With years of AI and machine-learning investigate in a arsenal, it was usually a matter of time before one of a large tech titans came calling. Prior to today’s news, my gamble would have been Google, though Microsoft is zero to be sniffed at.

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