Microsoft's Bought London-Based Keyboard Maker SwiftKey

By Chris Mills on at

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, to the tune of $250 million (£173.7m).

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.

The purchase 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 price is also in line with previous purchases of AI startups, although low for such a popular smartphone app. [Financial Times]