In In a suprise move made today, Microsoft acquired SwiftKey, the software keyboard and its SDK. SwiftKey is used on over 300 million Android and iOS devices around the world. According to SwiftKey, the keyboard has saved nearly 10 trillion keystrokes, which translates to saving 100,000 years in typing time. Microsoft acquired SwiftKey for $250 million. SwiftKey was started eight years ago and never released a native app for Windows Phones.
SwiftKey is a keyboard that will work well with Microsoft software. Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, Access, etc.) would benefit from a predictive keyboard like SwiftKey. Anything that makes typing easier on mobile devices is a good thing, and more comfortable typing means more productivity. Smaller digital devices (Smartphones, phablets, and tablets) are still growing in their work efficiency. SwiftKey has made typing more efficient for many users, and this software being built into Microsoft’s programs will add extra to a software suite already packed with features.
According to Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Technology and Research, “This acquisition are 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.”
According to SwiftKey, the app will remain free for Android and iOS users. The same employees will be moving over to Microsoft, so the team that created and maintained SwiftKey will stay together. This is good news, as it should mean not much will change with the app. How it will improve Microsoft’s other software and apps will be interesting to see. Microsoft has also acquired Acompli, MilelQ, Sunrise and Wunderlust.
Microsoft hasn’t had a good time with devices and digital hardware, with their smartphones and tablets not selling well. Microsoft’s software (Such as the Office suite) and the OS Windows 10 (Despite the complaints of Windows users) are doing well. It’s unlikely Windows as a desktop/laptop OS will disappear anytime soon. With the acquisition of other apps, maybe Microsoft sees its future in apps. Having the backing behind its apps (Such as the cloud) is something that puts it ahead of other app designers.