Microsoft announced Wednesday morning that it has entered into an agreement to acquire SwiftKey, makers of the SwiftKey predictive keyboard and its SDK that runs on over 300 million Android and iOS smartphones, for about $250 million.
SwiftKey will continue development for both Android and iOS, but will also look to integrate their technology across other platforms in Microsoft's product and services portfolio, according to Harry Shum, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of Technology and Research.
Microsoft will also gain control of SwiftKey's Greenhouse, where SwiftKey helps develop innovative and experimental apps. Examples include SwiftKey Symbols, which is a symbol-based typing app for non-verbal special needs individuals, and SwiftKey Neural, which uses artificial neural networks to predict your typing. This allows computers systems to operate in a similar way to the human brain.
Hexy Launcher is another Greenhouse app which puts all of the applications on your phone into a honeycomb pattern on the homescreen. Instead of separate pages, you can open all of your apps from the same screen. It looks cool, but there's no widget support, which is a pretty big drawback. It also displays all of your apps, which is a little annoying.
Microsoft will probably have a lot more to say about its plans with SwiftKey in the coming months, specifically about how the company plans to integrate SwiftKey's tech into its Word Flow interface.