According to a report from the Financial Times, Microsoft is set to announced the acquisition of the popular keyboard app developer Swiftkey for $250 million. While neither company would confirm the report, it is expected to be announced later this week.
Swiftkey is hugely popular with Android and iOS users who leverage the apps artificial intelligence to quickly sort out what someone is typing as they swipe across the keyboard on their device. It is at AI that Microsoft is interested in acquiring as the Redmond company continues to drive its mobile app strategy despite their own mobile platform being all-but dead.
The impact that the deal will have on the app for both platforms is unclear but it is the latest in a long list of applications that the company has
purchased over the course of the last year.
For Microsoft, the purchase of Swiftkey is the latest step in chief executive Satya Nadella’s plan to regain a foothold in mobile by acquiring popular productivity apps. In little more than a year, Microsoft has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy Acompli, an email app, Wunderlist, maker of to-do list software, and Sunrise, a calendar app.
It is estimated that Swiftkey is installed on over 300 million devices and while the $250 million is a reasonable price tag, it is far less than what the app likely would have commanded just a few years ago. In 2014 the company moved from a $3.99 price to a free model with in-app purchases for themes and other personalization options were made available. If the past is any indicator, Microsoft will likely continue to offer the app on Android and iOS as they have done with other acquisitions.
For those with concerns or who are looking for an alternative, you can try Google Keyboard which has a similar feature to Swiftkey and is also free.