Microsoft reportedly buying AI-powered software keyboard maker SwiftKey

The deal would bring more AI chops to Microsoft

Microsoft will pay around $250 million to acquire SwiftKey, the company behind a popular keyboard for iOS and Android, according to a report in the Financial Times Tuesday

The acquisition would be an interesting buy for Microsoft, which has been on a buying spree lately. SwiftKey brings a lot to the table -- it's a wildly popular replacement for both the stock iOS and Android keyboards, known for the artificial intelligence that recommends the next word users will type. 

What's interesting about a SwiftKey acquisition is that Microsoft already makes its own keyboard, and is in the process of bringing it to other platforms. The artificial intelligence behind SwiftKey's keyboard may have something to do with the company's decision, though.

According to unnamed sources close to SwiftKey, many of the company's 150 employees are expected to join Microsoft Research following the acquisition, the FT reported.

SwiftKey had a hard time settling on a monetization model. Early on, the company charged for purchases of its keyboard, but has since switched to offering the keyboard for free and charging for premium themes, in addition to collecting money from companies like BlackBerry that pre-installed SwiftKey on their devices.  

Representatives for both SwiftKey and Microsoft declined to comment.

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Blair Hanley Frank

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