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Microsoft Buys Keyboard App SwiftKey for $250m

Alex Spencer

SwiftkeyMicrosoft has acquired SwiftKey, the UK company behind the successful mobile keyboard, for a reported $250m (£173m).

SwiftKey's app first launched on Android in 2010 – and the same year won the Most Effective Mobile App category in the first ever Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. It subsequently came to iOS in 2014, after Apple opened its doors to third-party keyboards with iOS 8, but never made the move to Windows Phone.

Following the acquisition, SwiftKey will continue working on its Android and iOS apps will continue, and Microsoft will also integrate its technology into integration with Windows Phone's own typing software, Word Flow, and "across the breadth of our product and services portfolio", according to Microsoft EVP Harry Shum.

The main thinking behind the acquisition, however, seems to be an interest in how SwiftKey’s predictive technology could play into Microsoft's own artificial intelligence work – the main product of which so far has been Cortana, its virtual personal assistant for Windows.