In a recent announcement made on Microsoft’s official blog, it was revealed that the software giant is all set to acquire XOXCO, a studio for software product development and design. This studio is renowned for its ‘conversational AI and bot development capabilities’.
Today Microsoft signed an agreement for acquisition of XOXCO, a company based in Austin, Texas and that has been ‘paving the way in conversational AI since 2013.’ The creation of Howdy and Botkit are credited to this company which are conversational AI tools that help schedule meetings and provide the development tools utilized by a large number of developers on GitHub respectively. Inspired by their history of efforts in conversational AI, Microsoft decided to partner with them.
This move from Microsoft has come at a time when conversational AI is rapidly becoming a way for businesses to engage with customers and employees. It is being used in creation of virtual assistants, redesigning of customer interactions and using conversational assistants to help employees in communicating better. Lili Cheng, the Corporate Vice President of Conversational AI stated the important of conversational AI for the company, “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.”
Further commenting on the purpose of this acquisition, Cheng remarked, “The Microsoft Bot Framework, available as a service in Azure and on GitHub, supports over 360,000 developers today. With this acquisition, we are continuing to realize our approach of democratizing AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate.”
Microsoft has been making consistent efforts in the realm of conversational AI that have been more evident during the last six months. It has lately acquired Semantic Machines, Bonsai, Lobe and GitHub, all in a bid to speed up its AI development.
Microsoft has not yet discussed how exactly it plans to integrate XOXCO team into the rest of the company. However, it remains clear that the company is serious about making AI valuable and accessible to every organization and individual by ‘amplifying human ingenuity with intelligent technology.’