Microsoft has reportedly acquired SwiftKey, maker of the popular third-party SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS and Android devices. The Financial Times reports the Redmond firm paid $250 million to acquire the keyboard company.
The SwiftKey Keyboard, has been available on Android devices since 2010, and was one of the first companies to release a keyboard for iOS, when Apple opened up support for third-party keyboards with the release of iOS 8 in 2014.
The keyboard for iOS is a “smart” keyboard that learns and adapts to how a user types, aiming to offer more accurate autocorrect, and intelligent next-word prediction, thereby reducing keystrokes. The keyboard gets smarter over time, as it learns how a user types.
While over 300 million people use the SwiftKey Keyboard, the company has struggled to monetize their app. The keyboard began life as a paid app; later moving to a freemium model, where users download the keyboard for free, and pay for customization and themes.
At this point, we don’t know if Microsoft will continue to support the SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS and Android, or what their plans are to make use of keyboard’s technology. We’ll likely learn more later this week, when Microsoft officially announces the acquisition.