The rumors about this acquisition began yesterday and now today they are confirmed by both companies through their official websites.
For those who may not be aware, SwiftKey is based in the United Kingdom and have built a cross platform (iOS and Android) on-screen keyboard that uses a language prediction that is based on artificial intelligence.
That technology, according to SwiftKey, is built upon an estimated 10 trillion keystrokes in 100 languages and they estimate users have saved over 100,000 years of time using SwiftKey.
Last year, when I spent 6 months on Android, I struggled with the standard keyboards and really missed the Word Flow keyboard on Windows Phone. After asking on Twitter, someone pointed me towards SwiftKey and I never looked back because it was a terrific keyboard with plenty of options to make it work very well.
It does not surprise me at all that Microsoft is making this acqui-hire for the talent and intellectual property because it will only help to make the companies own Word Flow keyboard even better.
Last month Microsoft released their Word Flow keyboard for iOS, much at the chagrin of Windows Phone fans, to continue their focus on getting Microsoft products and services on other platforms.
According to Microsoft, this purchase of SwiftKey continues the cross platform effort and is all about synergy:
"We believe that together we can achieve orders of magnitude greater scale than either of us could have achieved independently."
Microsoft's Harry Shum, Executive VP of Technology and Research, also confirmed Microsoft's goals with this acquisition:
"This acquisition is a great example of Microsoft’s commitment to bringing its software and services to all platforms. We’ll continue to develop SwiftKey’s market-leading keyboard apps for Android and iOS as well as explore scenarios for the integration of the core technology across the breadth of our product and services portfolio. Moreover, SwiftKey’s predictive technology aligns with Microsoft’s investments and ambition to develop intelligent systems that can work more on the user’s behalf and under their control."
Ultimately the technology behind SwiftKey will be incorporated into Windows Phone's popular Word Flow keyboard.
SwiftKey will continue to be supported and updated on Android and iOS but at some point in the future, likely after the SwiftKey technology is folded into Microsoft's Word Flow, I would expect the SwiftKey app to be renamed to Word Flow.
You know SwiftKey makes a version of their on-screen keyboard for iPad. Wouldn't it be nice to see this acquisition result in a Word Flow keyboard on Windows 10 touch based devices such as tablets and 2-in-1's?