Update: Microsoft confirms SwiftKey acquisition, app will continue to be available in the Play Store

by: John DyeFebruary 3, 2016

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Update, February 3: Both Microsoft and SwiftKey have confirmed the acquisition. The SwiftKey team will be joining Microsoft and continue to work on the Android and iOS apps, which will continue to be available for free in the respective app stores.

SwiftKey’s technology will be integrated into Microsoft’s own Word Flow keyboard (which was recently revealed to be coming to iOS and eventually Android), as well as other products in the future.

According to Microsoft EVP of Technology and Research Harry Shum, the acquisition “further demonstrates Microsoft’s desire to bring key apps and technologies to platforms from Windows to Android to iOS.”

The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Original post, February 2: In what may be bad news for Android users who are fans of one of the world’s most popular virtual keyboards, Microsoft is acquiring SwiftKey to the tune of $250 million. It seems that Microsoft wants to use the keyboard, which has been installed on over 300 million devices, as well as SwiftKey’s artificial intelligence research to bolster their slipping foothold in both the mobile market and the burgeoning AI field.

While many people think of SwiftKey solely as a predictive keyboard, if a sometimes unsettlingly prescient one, the company also has quite a bit invested in adaptive learning and AI algorithms that allow human behavior to be accurately predicted. Stephen Hawking’s current language assistance program, after all, was designed by SwiftKey, and the company is developing tools to help other communicatively disabled people engage in the world around them via their Symbols app.

satya nadella friday debate

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

The 150-employee company is based out of London, and its co-founders Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock both can expect to make over $30 million individually from Microsoft’s buyout. Acquisition of AI frontrunners is something of an arms race in Silicon Valley right now. Google seems to be leading the way with their far-reaching DeepMind research (a company they acquired in 2014), but apple isn’t far behind with VocalIQ, an AI software set with natural applications for Siri.

Acquiring SwiftKey accomplishes two objectives for Microsoft. Recently, the Windows creator has been buying up mobile tech left and right in an attempt to push their way back into a game that has become overwhelmingly Android/iOS dominant. Meanwhile, although they have been pursuing AI in smaller avenues, Microsoft hasn’t had any big-hitter that could attempt to rival DeepMind.

Swiftkey NeuralSee also: SwiftKey’s new Neural keyboard will offer better word predictions thanks to neural network technology19

No word yet on how this will affect the SwiftKey keyboard – which is not available on Windows phones – on Android and iOS. Neither Microsoft nor SwiftKey have elected to comment on this matter as of yet. Hopefully our beloved keyboard will not meet the same fate as Sunrise, a calendar app that was gripped, stripped, and digested whole by Microsoft like a bacterium in the grip of mighty amoeba last year, only to be assimilated entirely into Outlook.

What do you think is going to happen with SwiftKey? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Next: Best Keyboard Apps for Android

  • payaxy

    well, there goes the neighbourhood… err, my favourite keyboard :(

  • Ron Burgundy

    Very sad news, a sad day for Android. Everything M$ touches turns to dust….

    • Harsha Deep Reddy

      I wouldn’t give a rats ass If they rebrand Swiftkey and integrate it into they already excellent Wordflow keyboard … I would actively use it as I like a few of the newer Microsoft products

      however if they shut it down completely like Sunrise to integrate into a subpar Outlook app on Android I’d be pissed

      • Chen

        Wordflow is excellent, I agree.. And shutting it down is imminent.

  • Guy

    Microsoft please don’t turn it amazing keyboard to shit.

    • alan4195

      Microsoft will either A) Make SwiftKey a Windows Mobile exclusive, B) Make SwiftKey a Skype exclusive, or C) Make SwiftKey their new mobile OS.

      • Sumitro Bhaumik

        lol wut?

  • subm

    i have to backup the keyboard now

  • That One Guy

    Nooooooooooooo! Please!!!! Noooooo!

  • alan4195

    One thing I know for certain is that I don’t trust Microsoft with my privacy any more than I’d trust a lobster with my testicles. My keywords aren’t for sale, MS.

    • SimSimma52

      Just made the Google keyboard my default. Not giving swiftkey any more use or money

      • John Terrence

        I think until now , Google have showed mercy upon swiftkey , but with this acquisition , i expect to see the Google Keyboard greatly improving.

  • ‫מיכאל בלן-סגל‬‎

    Ho no, what you did to Nokia is what u will do to SwiftKey

  • Avieshek Rajkhowa

    U got to be kidding me, it’s so unrealistic!

  • Dusan

    Rofl, this is the SOLE REASON I switched back to Android from Windows.
    But I think this is great news. Now if I want to, I can go back to Windows. And I don’t think it will affect Swiftkey for Android.

  • Jeff Moreira

    WTF, I guess I need to find an alternative keyboard now.
    Cannot believe it, the latest update was so good and now this shite :(

  • Choda Boy

    Given the way Microsoft adopted spyware and malware tactics with Windows 10, I have NO DOUBT they plan to data mine everything that is typed with SwiftKey. Uninstalling now…

    • Sherpa

      And you think Google is not?

      • Choda Boy

        I do not use Google as an Operating System to run applications.

        • Sherpa

          Oh, you are so funny.

  • Kenneth Andrews

    Fought tooth & nail to get kindle to accept SwiftKey. Wouldn’t use anything else be nice to see it on my windows devices. Microsoft just don’t screw it up let them do their thing which they do so well!

  • Raul Acevedo

    Ewww I’m going to have a MSFT product on my phone? Ugh I feel gross already

  • Lynn X


  • I’m sure that from now on when you type “Google” on SwiftKey, it will be auto-corrected to “Bing”

  • uggh

    Thanks for the heads up – just uninstalled swiftkey. The standard LG keyboard is surprisingly good.

    Microsoft can’t create good technology anymore. They have to buy and destroy what others have created in order to have sell-able products. They have become a source of inefficiency in the tech market. It is high time that they stopped squatting and parting their bowels on every promising young tech company that out-paces them. It would be better for tech if they distributed the assets of their companies to shareholders and went home before they kill any more good companies. If anyone knows of a mechanism to trigger that event, please do it. Carl Icahn? You in the house? Come on, Carl! You have to be tired of taking a beating in the oil sector by now. Why don’t you come on over and strip Microsoft for parts and dissolve them for good – as they’ve done to so many others. …and please do it before they kill Linux.