Swiftkey is the most innovative and interesting predictive keyboard maker in the business, and Microsoft is a software giant that’s trying to push its artificial intelligence cred a little higher. It’s a match made in heaven.
Swiftkey is best known for its iOS and Android keyboards, which use artificial intelligence (and even a neural network!) to generate predictions that actually work. Users (by which I mean me) also love the user interface, which can pull from your Gmail account to learn your writing style, and allows for the tweakiest of changes to the keyboard layout.
It’s a purchase that makes total sense for Microsoft — Swiftkey’s natural-language AI is a perfect fit with Cortana, and Microsoft also has this slightly bizarre habit of making free, useful utility apps for iOS and Android. The $US250 million price quoted by a report in the Financial Times is in line with previous purchases of AI startups, although low for such a popular smartphone app.
Swiftkey declined to comment for this piece, but Microsoft has confirmed the purchase, explaining that it will “continue to develop SwiftKey’s market-leading keyboard apps for Android and iOS as well as explore scenarios for the integration of the core technology across the breadth of [its] product and services portfolio”.