Here's How Microsoft's SwiftKey Acquisition Could Enhance The Firm's AI Efforts
Artificial Intelligence has become a hot topic among tech firms competing to get the attention of the public. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) have all been jockeying for position in the race to become a leader in AI at a time when functionality is among Americans' top priority when buying new technology. This week, Microsoft announced that it would acquire UK-based software maker SwiftKey in an effort to up its AI game.
What Is SwiftKey?
SwiftKey is the technology behind text auto-fill features. The company is able to draw from several sources including a user's history as well as the Internet at large to predict what that person is going to say before they've finished typing it. At the moment, SwiftKey's technology can be found on iOS and Android devices around the world.
How Does It Help Microsoft?
The importance of the SwiftKey acquisition lies in the technology's potential to make Microsoft's cutting-edge technology offerings easier to use. Correctly predicting typed text is just the beginning of how SwiftKey can improve Microsoft products. Many see Microsoft using the software to improve things like its virtual reality headset Hololens and make Cortana, the firm's virtual assistant, more effective.
The applications for SwiftKey are varied. When it comes to virtual reality, SwiftKey's extensive background with predictive text will make it easier for Microsoft accurately detect what a user is typing when the keyboard is floating in mid-air. SwiftKey is also able to recognize and understand a user's intentions, so the technology will likely help improve Cortana's effectiveness by better interpreting users' messages and commands.
So far, Microsoft and SwiftKey have been tightlipped about the terms of the deal, so it remains unclear how much Microsoft paid and whether the firm plans to monetize SwiftKey's app. However, many believe that the value SwiftKey's app provides Microsoft pales in comparison to the way the company's technology could enhance Microsoft's products in the future.
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