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article imageSmart keyboard SwiftKey is now owned by Microsoft

By James Walker     Feb 3, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has confirmed it has bought SwiftKey, an award-winning and very popular custom keyboard for Android and iOS devices. The company plans to integrate SwiftKey's predictive technologies into its own Word Flow keyboard.
The acquisition was widely reported earlier today and has now been officially acknowledged by both companies. Microsoft said it is "pleased" to have entered a "definitive" agreement to buy the app.
The news was first revealed by the Financial Times, putting the value of the deal at $250 million. London-based SwiftKey described the sell-out as an "important milestone," describing SwiftKey and productivity-focused Microsoft as a "perfect match."
SwiftKey founders Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock wrote in a blog post: "We’re excited to announce an important milestone on SwiftKey’s journey. As of today, we have agreed to join the Microsoft family. Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Our mission is to enhance interaction between people and technology. We think these are a perfect match, and we believe joining Microsoft is the right next stage in our journey."
Since launch in 2010, SwiftKey has become one of the most popular third-party keyboards ever built for Android. Less than two years ago, the app made its debut on iOS when Apple began to allow developers to make custom keyboards.
SwiftKey is based around text prediction technology that learns how its user types and aims to speed up writing on mobile devices. According to the company, 10 trillion keystrokes have now been saved, reclaiming 100,000 years of typing time for SwiftKey users.
The app analyses how users type to build up an increasingly accurate bank of predictions for what they will write next. It is capable of interpreting abbreviations, slang, specific phrases used as part of a personal idiolect and even emoticons frequently chosen by the user.
Microsoft said the acquisition is a "great example" of its work to bring its software and services to every platform. It said it will share details on its plans to integrate SwiftKey with its own Word Flow predictive keyboard for Windows "in the coming months."
SwiftKey was quick to respond to user concerns over the deal. It committed to keeping the app free and available on both Android and iOS. Microsoft won't be taking the technology and making it Windows exclusive, primarily because that would go against the company's new strategy of building class-leading productivity software for every platform.
SwiftKey said: "Our number one focus has always been to build the best possible products for our users. This will not change. Our apps will continue to be available on Android and iOS, for free. We are as committed as ever to improving them in new and innovative ways."
SwiftKey is just the latest in a long line of productivity software companies Microsoft has acquired recently. Last year, it bought email app Accompli and calendar app Sunrise to use as the basis for its Outlook Mail and Calendar apps on Android and iOS, continuing its return to a software company making apps for every operating system.
More about Microsoft, swiftkey, Keyboard, Typing, Prediction
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