The reported $250 million deal is one of the largest in Microsoft’s recent blitz of acquiring application developers.
Microsoft has confirmed its purchase of SwiftKey, the London-based builder of predictive keyboards for mobile devices.
The purchase was for $250 million, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the deal on Tuesday. That would make it one of Microsoft’s largest in its recent blitz of scooping up application builders.
Microsoft’s dozen acquisitions completed during the last six months of 2015 came at an average cost of about $65 million in cash, the company disclosed in reporting earnings last week.
The Redmond company, which has a tiny sliver of global smartphone users on its own Windows Phone platform, has turned to acquisitions of popular applications as a way to bolster its presence on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
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SwiftKey’s keyboard, which uses algorithms to better understand what users’ thumbs are trying to type, is used by more than 300 million Android and iOS devices, said Harry Shum, Microsoft executive vice president of technology and research, in a blog post on Wednesday confirming the deal.
In addition to a large base of customers, the software underlying SwiftKey brings Microsoft another set of artificial intelligence tools.
Shum, who oversees Microsoft’s research efforts, hinted in his blog at SwiftKey’s utility for Microsoft’s push to build technology that’s better able to anticipate and react to people’s needs.
The highest profile result of that effort is Cortana, Microsoft’s entrant in the competitive field of building voice-activated tools that can handle tasks such as scheduling meetings, remembering and predicting restaurant preferences, or starting up applications.
Shum said Microsoft will continue to develop SwiftKey’s existing products, and explore ways to integrate their underlying technology across Microsoft’s products.
SwiftKey joins other Microsoft application acquisitions like email maker Acompli, calendar builder Sunrise, the German startup behind to-do list application Wunderlist, and car mileage tracker maker Mobile Data Labs, among others.
Microsoft didn’t disclose the SwiftKey deal’s terms.