Microsoft said Wednesday that it has purchased SwiftKey, a popular predictive text keyboard app that tailors its auto-correct suggestions to a user's writing style. The deal, which reportedly cost Microsoft $250 million, is an indicator that the Redmond, Calif. firm is looking to broaden its artificial intelligence portfolio.
"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," wrote Harry Shum, Microsoft's executive vice president of technology and research, in a blog post announcing the deal.
Shum also said that SwiftKey's technology will be integrated into Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard, which is rumored to be getting a design overhaul for iOS in the near future.
More broadly, the SwiftKey aligns with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's strategy of snatching up popular apps and, in many cases, rebranding them as Microsoft products. Here are the other apps Microsoft has purchased over the past two years:
Microsoft announced that it had acquired Mobile Data Labs, the company behind the MileQ app, in November of 2015. MileQ uses sensors inside a person's phone to analyze how far they've traveled, with the goal of making it easier to expense work-related trips. When the deal was announced, Microsoft said the Mobile Data Labs team will "continue to build and offer mobile productivity solutions."
Microsoft announced that it bought Mojang, the creator behind the massively popular game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion in September 2014. The Mojang team joined Microsoft Studios, which has produced blockbuster games such as Halo and Forza, following the acquisition. This year, Microsoft is imagining new ways for Minecraft players to experience the game. One demo of its HoloLens augmented reality headset demonstrates how gamers can build Minecraft landscapes by interacting with three-dimensional holographs.
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Wunderlist is a to-do app that allows users to organize lists and share them with others. Microsoft said it purchased 6Wunderkinder, the company behind the app, in June of 2015, saying that it fits with the company's portfolio of productivity apps, like the Office suite.
Sunrise is widely considered one of the best smartphone calendar apps, with critics raving about its simple interface and ability to connect to most major services. Microsoft announced that it had acquired Sunrise in February 2015 and began integrating it into its Outlook calendar in October 2015, giving Outlook a new design that's easier to navigate.
Microsoft announced that it purchased email app Accompli in December 2014, providing the foundation for a refreshed Outlook app released earlier this year. Accompli's technology enables features like scheduling emails and automatically surfacing important messages so they're not overlooked.