Microsoft Corporation MSFT has acquired United Kingdom based SwiftKey for roughly $250 million. The company's flagship offering is installed on more than 300 million Android and iOS devices and supports 89 languages.
What's So Great About SwiftKey?
When a company as big as Microsoft buys another as small as SwiftKey, the obvious reasons boil down to two: the company has a very important product or technology. Or, it has a group of engineers that Microsoft would like to lay its hands on. Or both.
So on the face of it, the acquisition isn't very interesting. The company makes a smart keyboard, something already available on most mobile devices whether from Apple AAPL , Alphabet's GOOGL Android, or even Microsoft itself.
As far as technology is concerned, SwiftKey says its users have saved almost two trillion keystrokes for more than 23,000 years in combined typing time by using its software. Therefore, it has been able to develop data models/prediction techniques/algorithms by combining the user's internet searches and a built-in store of user-input queries based on the language used.
The Verge/Financial Times also reported that SwiftKey has developed a neural network for its latest keyboard, which could be what Microsoft is interested in.
SwiftKey is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Microsoft since it came under Satya Nadella. Some of the others were Acompli, an email app, Wunderlist, maker of to-do list software, and Sunrise, a calendar app.