Microsoft is in the process of acquiring XOXCO, an AI and bot development house. The exact numbers of the deal are not yet known at this time.
Since 2013, XOXCO has been working on conversational AI technology. One of its projects is Howdy.ai, the first chatbot for Slack that allowed for setting up a meeting. It assists you with creating bots for:
– Work chat
– Customer support
Prior to acquiring them, Microsoft used to be one of its partners. At the time of writing, it’s unknown how Microsoft plans to integrate XOXCO and Howdy with the rest of the company.
In the last six months, Microsoft has also acquired the following companies:
– Semantic Machines, a conversational AI development company (May)
– Bonsai, a reinforcement learning and simulation vendor (July)
– Lobe, an AI learning and deep learning specialist (September)
In the last couple of years, Microsoft has been working on various AI projects, believing that the natural language will become the default user interface in the future. Cortana, for example, will be repositioned as a productivity aid rather than a standalone assistant.
Apart from that, translation technologies are also in the works. Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, for example, will be using a text-to-speech synthesis system that is capable of generating digital voices from text. It will be possible to use it for the purposes of converting written text into an audiobook, interact with chatbots, as well as enhance in-car navigation.