This year, Microsoft is all into Artificial Intelligence (AI) and it is more inclined towards buying it when compared with developing it. Yesterday, Microsoft introduced its commitment to buy Xoxco, a software developer company based in Austin with a focus on modeling chatbots. This will be the fourth AI based company that Microsoft has bought this year.
The purchase was announced in a blog post, corporate VP for conversational AI at Microsoft, Lili Cheng wrote: “Today, we are announcing we have signed an agreement to acquire Xoxco, a software product design and development studio known for its conversational AI and bot development capabilities,”
Xoxco, discovered in 2009 – when conversational bots were not really known to people – has raised $1.5 million. It started developing bots in 2013 and was recognised when it developed the first bot for Slack to assist plan meetings. The firms did not tell the price, but it comes smoothly under Microsoft’s total purchase strategy this year, and the yesterday’s proclamation about a latest bot developing device to assist firms to develop conversational bots more simply.
Nowadays, when someone calls into a call centre, or communicate on chat, there is a possibility that he will first communicate with a chatbot, rather than a human. Microsoft aims on making it easier for developers with no AI knowledge to use Microsoft Azure platform expertise (or access the bot platform from the latest GitHub purchase).
“With this acquisition, we are continuing to realize our approach of democratizing AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate,” Cheng wrote.
The latest Virtual Assistant Accelerator solution introduced yesterday also supports Xoxco acquisition. Corporate VP for AI at Microsoft, Eric Boyd, claims the Virtual Assistant Accelerator makes bot development easier by bringing together AI techniques like natural language processing, speech-to-text, and an action engine.
“It’s a tool that makes it much easier for you to go and create a virtual assistant. It orchestrates a number of components that we offer, but we didn’t make them easy to use [together]. And so it’s really simplifying the creation of a virtual assistant,” he explained.
Yesterday’s purchase comes under a number of related AI purchases. In May, the company acquired Semantic Machines for providing a more human talk with bots. In June, it snagged Bonsai for easier AI development. And in September, it snatched Lobe to make it simple for developers to integrate AI in their apps.