Close on the heels of Microsoft’s new flow keyboard making it to the iOS devices, now it seems that the Redmond giant has fancied SwiftKey and bought the same for $250-Million. Swiftkey has been baked in millions of Android devices and it was this keyboard that first introduced us to typing by swiping. Lately the OEM’s have been including the Switkey on their smartphones, thus offering an alternative for the rather bare basic Google keyboard.
Swiftkey has been ruling the roost when it comes to premium keyboards and they also made a paradigm change in the revenue model by switching to freemium in 2014, thus making it easy for first time users to jump on board. The deal is yet to be officiated by both the parties involved and as of now it is still unclear on how Microsoft intends to use the Swiftkey. [Update: It’s official]
It is most likely that Swiftkey will exit the freemium model and will be made completely free for all at least initially until Microsoft thinks it is ready to rake in some additional revenues. Now it might seem weird for Microsoft to acquire Swiftkey when they themselves already have the much acclaimed Word flow predictive technology, the answer to this question lies in the AI capabilities of the Swiftkey which takes into account the contextual scenario and predicts the text accordingly.
The acquisition further depicts how aggressively Microsoft is trying to pitch itself in the mobile application platforms, be it the new Android apps or the Microsoft Garage initiative. On the contrary, it suddenly seems as though Microsoft has shifted its focus from the Windows phones and is more interested in fostering a sustainable app ecosystem which is platform agnostic. It would be interesting to see if Microsoft would merge Swiftkey or keep it afloat as a standalone unit.