Microsoft believes in the power of artificial intelligence to transform the world as we know it and the company has been on an acquisition spree this year alone as part of its AI push. Earlier this year, the software giant acquired Semantic Machines to accelerate its conversational AI efforts. This was followed by its Bonsai acquisition in June and the purchase of San Francisco-based Lobe in September in an effort to democratize the development of AI.
Today, Microsoft is expanding its AI portfolio as it announced its intention to buy XOXCO, a software product design and development company responsible for the development of Slack's Howdy bot. Lily Cheng, Corporate Vice President for Conversational AI at Microsoft, said in a blog post that the company has been collaborating with XOXCO over the past few years. Cheng also noted that the studio has been contributing to the development of conversational AI since 2013.
Regarding Microsoft's conversational AI push, Cheng added:
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, a suite of development tools used by many developers on GitHub, which was also acquired by Microsoft recently. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it's another step further in the Redmond giant's growing effort to integrate conversational AI into how people communicate.