SwiftKey's sale to Microsoft is the latest in a string of acquisitions of AI companies in the UK by US tech giants. It follows Apple's recent purchase of VocalIQ and Google's purchase of DeepMind in 2014 for £400m.
This acquisition helps Microsoft's Cortana in its battle for control of the interface with the internet, competing with Apple's Siri, GoogleNow, Amazon's Alexa and M from Facebook. Much of the activity to date has focussed on the voice interface but SwiftKey has a strong position in the keyboard interface, which has been largely neglected.
This deal also continues Microsoft's drive to build its cross platform proposition, following a number of acquisitions including Wunderlist, Sunrise and Accompli.
Good to see another strong transatlantic exit for the European tech scene.
Microsoft has acquired UK based SwiftKey, maker of keyboard apps for Android and iOS and is already installed and used on some 300 million devices. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed but sources close to the deal tell us it’s $250 million in cash after Microsoft beat out other interested buyers, which we’ve heard also included Apple. The deal will see Microsoft make further inroads into mobile productivity services — an area where it’s already made other acquisitions to gain ground, such as Wunderlist and Acompli. But from what we understand, SwiftKey may also become part of another Microsoft ambition. Microsoft wants to grow use of its Cortana digital assistant on Android, and by integrating Cortana into SwiftKey, some believe that it could be the gateway ramping up Cortana use without having to install a standalone app.