Microsoft has been making a bigger effort to makes its services more user-friendly on Android devices as well as other mobile platforms beyond its own Windows 10 Mobile, all in attempts to land a larger presence in the mobile industry. Today Microsoft is rumored to be furthering that agenda by acquiring the company behind extremely popular predictive keyboard ‘Swiftkey‘ for a total amount of $250 million. It isn’t clear when the two companies began arranging or discussing a deal for the purchase and integration of Swiftkey into Microsoft’s camp, if the acquisition is true, but with this sale in place Microsoft stands to gain a wide amount of knowledge and powerful AI technology that helps people type on a daily basis.
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Aside from earning Microsoft the powerful predictive engine that Swiftkey employs to intelligently finish people’s sentences in text messages, it would give Microsoft an unprecedented amount of information on millions of users that it could find useful in its other endeavors, as that amount of data known by Swiftkey to predict what users want to say would surely help Microsoft in some form. It’s also quite likely that Microsoft could begin to use Swiftkey on its devices, or they could simply integrate the technology into their own keyboard which currently comes installed on mobile phones and tablets that run the Windows 10 mobile OS.
Beyond the ability to use the keyboard on their phones, if they choose to do so, and beyond having one more service under their control that is available on both Android and iOS platforms, both of which are more popular than its own, Microsoft has an opportunity to take the technology behind Swiftkey and use it to further its efforts in artificial intelligence. It isn’t quite clear what Microsoft would plan to do with Swiftkey just yet and how it might use the technology to improve its own contextual efforts, and it’s unlikely that Microsoft would pull the app and service from either platform that Swiftkey is currently available on as that poses a major strength for Microsoft given the sheer number of users on each. Although not for the same purposes, Microsoft’s purchase of apps like Sunrise Calendar are another way they have been able to reach a number of users on other platforms even if they weren’t able to convert them to Windows.