Microsoft's Swiftkey purchase to bring in predictive keyboards to Windows 10 mobile OS

Microsoft is shelling out as much as $250 million to buy Swiftkey, the owner of artificial intelligence-powered predictive keyboards that are installed in millions of iPhones and Android smartphones.

As per a report by the Financial Times, the Swiftkey purchase is yet another example of Microsoft's push to acquire advanced productivity apps after the purchase of Accompli, Wunderlist and Sunrise apps.

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Swiftkey was started by Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock in the UK and offers advanced artificial intelligence capabilities to let smartphone owners interact with their devices. The software can predict and come up with suggestions on the next word a user will type based on his writing style and can even predict slangs, Emojis or nicknames.

As of now, the Swiftkey keyboard powers over 300 million smartphones around the world and supports over 100 languages including Welsh, Icelandic, Arabic and Indian and Chinese dialects. As per the Financial Times, "Swiftkey’s technology also powers the computer attached to Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, for which the company developed a special language model to assist him in speaking and writing his lectures and articles."

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If Microsoft's purchase of Swiftkey goes through, the latter's keyboards will power millions of Lumia smartphones that will run Windows 10 mobile OS. As of now, the Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL and Lumia 550 are the only smartphones that are running Microsoft's latest mobile OS.

A host of older Lumia phones like the Lumia 430, Lumia 435, Lumia 532, Lumia 535, Lumia 540, Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 735, Lumia 830 and Lumia 930 phones will be upgraded soon.

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Swiftkey's existing employees in London, San Francisco and Seoul are expected to join the Microsoft Research division which is headed by Harry Shum once the deal is concluded. Neither Microsoft nor Swiftkey have make any statements about the deal so far.

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