Microsoft buys SwiftKey, maker of the famous Android and iOS keyboard, for $250 million

Microsoft buys SwiftKey, maker of the famous Android and iOS keyboard, for $250 million
While Windows Phone is barely relevant in today's smartphone market, Microsoft has found another way to reach mobile users around the world: via apps. The Redmond company already launched many apps of its own on Android and iOS, and it's now adding another (quite important) application to its portfolio: SwiftKey.

In case you don't know, SwiftKey is a software keyboard for Android and iOS, and it's extremely popular: at the moment, it's installed on about 300 million devices (Android and iOS combined). According to The Financial Times, Microsoft is paying $250 million for the company behind SwiftKey. Reportedly, the deal will be officially announced later this week.

Microsoft already has a software keyboard (Word Flow), which is available on Windows Phone devices, and will soon be released on iOS and Android. Needless to say, the acquisition of SwiftKey will help Microsoft improve its keyboard game (if we may put it this way). However, Microsoft is likely purchasing SwiftKey for its artificial intelligence technology, rather than the keyboard app. SwiftKey relies on artificial intelligence to learn how users type on their mobile devices, thus being able to predict future words.

SwiftKey Keyboard was a paid app until 2014, when it became free (but introduced in-app purchases, allowing users to buy themes and other personalized content). SwiftKey also developed an Android launcher, though this one has failed to gain popularity, and isn't as appreciated as the keyboard.


source: Financial Times (subscription required)

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35 Comments

1. S.Yashwanthram

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

Best keyboard ever very smooth

19. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

combine this with wordflow and you will get the best keyboard ever :)

27. Predator-X

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 07, 2016

Hope they wont fck it up once purchased But google keyb. is good too but bad support for other languages...

28. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

google keyboard was the worst keyboard i've tried

2. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

I use this app exclusively on all my android phones.. I hate stock, samsung or most other keyboards

3. Macready

Posts: 1817; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

I prefer the original Swiftkey too, but the Samsung stock keyboard (at least on recent high end phones) is based on Swiftkey's core code and SDK, as confirmed by Swiftkey recently. Which also explains why the swiping and self learning effects are similar.https://blog.swiftkey.com/samsung-keyboard-security-vulnerability-swiftkey/ This also means that the installed base for the Swiftkey core code is probably even well past 300 million, since Samsung sells more than that in a year alone.

17. TyrionLannister unregistered

Samsung stock keyboard is SwiftKey.

18. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

It doesn't come preinstalled in my S6.

23. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

He meant the Samsung Keyboard.

24. TyrionLannister unregistered

The stock Samsung keyboard which comes installed is swiftkey. I mean it shares the same AI and prediction algorithms. The outer appearance is different in Samsung one and you get a few extra features like change in keyboard theme according to the Touchwiz theme, adjustable height etc; but the internal working is same.

25. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Since when? Haven't knew that til now.

26. TyrionLannister unregistered

A few years I guess.

34. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It certainly wasn't on the S3, that we the phone I installed my first 3rd party keyboard on because I couldn't take it. Ironically, that replacement keyboard was Swiftkey.

36. TyrionLannister unregistered

I am certain it was on S4.

4. Zeeya

Posts: 331; Member since: Mar 17, 2013

BlackBerry (Virtual) Keyboard is much much better...

5. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 198; Member since: May 03, 2012

The word flow keyboard is already way better. What's the point in buying this?

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

so they can own 2 best keyboard app on planet :D and then they can see whatever people type on their smartphone, and mining some valuable stuff from it :D

15. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yup! That would be the Microsoft i have always known. Careful now i am typing this on Windows 10....

16. ananthu07 unregistered

don't you worry. Cortana will spy on you.

20. Ashoaib

Posts: 3276; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

thats a sad news for swift key... microsoft is a failed company on mobile

29. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

The AI in word flow is not nearly on the level of the SwiftKey learning algorithms. SwiftKey not only is better at predicting your next word based on context, but also based on what it learns about you. Of course SwiftKey users who've been happy with that app watching them type for years will claim that MS is 'spying on me', as they like to do with MS products.

6. SkyfallWalker

Posts: 73; Member since: Jan 28, 2016

I use SwiftKey keyboard. The themes are awesome as well.

9. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

A good complement to their Windows 10 spying ability. Now they could log mobile user key strokes as well. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2974057/windows/how-to-turn-off-windows-10s-keylogger-yes-it-still-has-one.html

11. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

face palm... like they couldn't before. A digital life is no private life

12. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

You sure they put a key logging in windows 7 or windows 8.1?? No that I know of. http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2016/01/06/windows-10-spying-secrets-revealed/

31. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

They've since released Windows Updates that bring these awesome spying "features" to 7 and 8 as well, so you're not missing out!

13. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

10. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

i tried this keyboard and didn't care for it and went back to Samsung one. but 250 million seems a little too much?

14. eman99

Posts: 409; Member since: Aug 03, 2010

Won't save your phones

21. Cyberchum

Posts: 1037; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

I don't care what or not MS buys, all I ask is that they don't mess up SwiftKey for me.

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