The acquisitions keep on coming for Microsoft. This ongoing acquisition spree has seen the company announcing its intention to buy XOXCO, a software product design and development firm.
One that is responsible for the development of the Howdy bot over at Slack.
This is part of the efforts the Redmond based company is making in pushing forward the development of conversational AI, which has seen Microsoft make a number of important moves this year.
The software giant acquired Semantic Machines to accelerate its conversational AI efforts, and followed it up by the Bonsai acquisition in June and the purchase of Lobe in September — all in a bid to democratize the development of AI.
The company was founded in 2009, long before anyone was really talking about conversational bots.
As Lily Cheng, Corporate Vice President for Conversational AI at Microsoft notes in the blog post, the company had been collaborating with the studio for the past few years. XOXCO itself had been contributing to the development of conversational AI since 2013.
Regarding how Microsoft figures into all this, she said:
“At Microsoft, we envision a world where natural language becomes the new user interface, enabling people to do more with what they say, type and input, understanding preferences and tasks and modeling experiences based on the way people think and remember.”
In addition to Howdy, XOXCO also created Botkit, which is a suite of development tools that has struck a chord with many developers on GitHub and is a widely used platform in the community, and has the potential to play a larger part in the AI push Microsoft is on about.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.