Microsoft has acquired popular keyboard app SwiftKey for $250 million, reports FT. Post acquisition, SwiftKey will continue to be available on Android and iOS for free. Note that the app isn’t available on Windows Phones.
— SwiftKey (@SwiftKey) February 3, 2016
SwiftKey offers a predictive keyboard app which learns over time how users use the keyboard, getting better at predicting what text the users might want to type. The app has been around for a while – it was founded in 2008, and had previously raised around $20 million from various investors including Accel Partners, Index Ventures and Octopus Investments.
Interestingly, Microsoft plans to launch its own Word Flow keyboard for Windows Phones and iOS. However, it’s not clear if the company will integrate SwiftKey and Word Flow or if it will keep them as separate apps. Another reason for Microsoft to buy Swiftkey is its predictive engine, which could directly and indirectly benefit its other offerings like Cortana, Bing results, etc.
Windows 10 mobile: Microsoft hasn’t been too successful with its mobile initiatives, as Windows 10 phone sales slid down 49% this quarter. In July, the company wrote off Nokia’s phone hardware business. However, the company has taken services on Android and iOS seriously, offering apps like Cortana than can replace Google’s and Apple’s default offerings namely Now and Siri. As of now, the company lists 75 apps on the Google Play store.
Recent acquisitions: In June last year, Microsoft acquired 6Wunderkinder, the parent company and creator of the to do list app Wunderlist for an undisclosed amount. It had also acquired the calendar app Sunrise and the email app Acompli (for $200 million) in December 2014. However, in October last year, Microsoft said it would shutdown Sunrise Mobile Calendar after integration into Outlook completed.
SwiftKey India: In November last year, SwiftKey released an updated version of its Android app to add support for 12 new Indic languages, which brought the total number of Indic languages supported on the platform to 15. The app had initially added support for Hindi and Hinglish back in 2012.