Microsoft acquires keyboard app maker SwiftKey - Mobile World Live

Microsoft acquires keyboard app maker SwiftKey

03 FEB 2016

Microsoft is set to buy UK startup SwiftKey, the company behind a keyboard app underpinned by predictive technology, stating that it “aligns with our vision for more personal computing experiences that anticipate our needs versus responding to our commands”.

Microsoft did not reveal numbers, but Financial Times reported it paid around $250 million, with founders Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock, who had a minority stake in the firm, making around $30 million each.

The move “demonstrates Microsoft’s desire to bring key apps and technologies to platforms from Windows to Android to iOS,” the company said in a statement.

Interestingly, it also said SwiftKey’s predictive technology aligns with Microsoft’s “investments and ambition to develop intelligent systems that can work more on the user’s behalf and under their control”, indicating a move towards artificial intelligence.

In 2014, Google bought UK artificial intelligence group DeepMind for £400 million.

SwiftKey says its flagship app, launched on Android in 2010 and on iOS less than two years ago, has been installed on more than 300 million devices.

It also claims its users have saved an estimated 10 trillion keystrokes across 100 different languages.

Its apps will continue to be available on Android and iOS for free.

Microsoft wants to continue to develop SwiftKey’s keyboard apps and “explore scenarios for the integration of the core technology across the breadth of our product and services portfolio”.

The deal comes after a number of other app buys from Microsoft, including Acompli, Wunderlist and Sunrise.

In the past, SwiftKey raised $20 million in venture capital from investors including Accel Partners, Index Ventures and Octopus Investments. It has offices in London, San Francisco and Seoul, as well as staff in India and China.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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