Swiftkey, one of the intuitive predictive keyboards for Android and iOS smartphones, is reportedly being acquired by Microsoft for about $250m, Financial Times reports. According to people familiar with the deal, the artificial intelligence powered keyboard is installed on hundreds of millions of smartphones and supports 89 languages.
Launched in 2010 for Android and in 2014 for iOS, UK-based SwiftKey also started taking in-app payments for themed keyboards. Till date, Swiftkey has raised a total of $21.59 million from Index Ventures and Octopus Ventures. Also, UK celebrity Stephen Fry had been one of the early angel investors.
It is important to note that Microsoft already has its own Word Flow keyboard for Windows Phone 8.1 and above OS, and the software giant has also been diving deeper with its virtual personal assistance, Cortana. Swiftkey has always focused on the potential of keyboard that can be useful in taking action, rather than simply entering words and letters. With artificial intelligence and set of contextual information, it can predict what user could be typing.
Moreover, with the Swiftkey acquisition and getting founders Dr. Ben Medlock (CTO) and Jon Reynolds (CEO) along with 150-plus employees on board, Microsoft gets a team behind AI, whose work has even being praised by Professor Stephen Hawking. Nevertheless, Swiftkey acquisition could be another great addition to Microsoft’s roster, which includes the likes of Acompli, Sunrise, Wunderlist and MileIQ.