Swiftkey is one of the most popular third party keyboards on Android and iOS. According to The Financial Times, Microsoft is now entering a deal to purchase Swiftkey for around $250 million and according to Techcrunch investor sources close to the deal, it will definitely go through and be announced some time this week.
Swiftkey launched on Android in 2010 and came to iOS in 2014. Swiftkey also switched from selling its app and moved to in-app purchases but The Financial Times suggests that the app may not have been as financially successful as it hoped.
It is understood that the companies have been in talks for several months and that staff were told yesterday about the deal. Swiftkey is currently on more than 500 million Android and iOS phones. The unique selling point of the keyboard is its swipe feature as a different method of input.
However, while Swiftkey may have a fantastic app already, its AI-powered platform could be the major appeal for Microsoft. Swiftkey is known for having a fantastic and accurate predictive engine behind the software of the keyboard and recently they launched a neural network on Android instead of using standard algorithms to predict words.
So while Microsoft may have a fantastic mobile keyboard already, adding the Swiftkey team would still be of great benefit to them. Microsoft has been busy buying up talented developers and popular apps over the past year such as Sunrise and Acompli as part of its strategy to improve apps and services across multiple platforms.
Hopefully they will leave the Swiftkey branding intact and not decide on changing the name to something like “Microsoft Keyboard.”
Update: Swiftkey have confirmed the deal on their blog this morning, you can read their post below.