Microsoft has been all in on AI this yr, and within the construct versus purchase equation, the corporate has been leaning closely towards shopping for. This morning, the corporate introduced its intent to accumulate Xoxco, an Austin-based software program developer with a give attention to bot design, making it the fourth AI-related firm Microsoft has bought this yr.
“At present, we’re asserting we’ve signed an settlement to accumulate Xoxco, a software program product design and growth studio identified for its conversational AI and bot growth capabilities,” Lili Cheng, company VP for conversational AI at Microsoft wrote in a blog post asserting the acquisition.
Xoxco, which was based in 2009 — lengthy earlier than most of us have been desirous about conversational bots — has raised $1.5 million. It started engaged on bots in 2013, and is credited with creating the primary bot for Slack to assist schedule conferences. The businesses didn’t reveal the value, but it surely matches properly with Microsoft’s general acquisition technique this yr, and an announcement at this time involving a brand new bot constructing device to assist firms construct conversational bots extra simply.
Once you name right into a name middle nowadays, and even work together on chat, chances are high your preliminary interplay is with a conversational bot, slightly than a human. Microsoft is making an attempt to make it simpler for builders with out AI expertise to faucet into Microsoft’s experience on the Azure platform (or by downloading the bot framework from its newly acquired GitHub).
“With this acquisition, we’re persevering with to appreciate our strategy of democratizing AI growth, dialog and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences the place individuals talk,” Cheng wrote.
The brand new Digital Assistant Accelerator resolution introduced at this time additionally aligns with the Xoxco buy. Eric Boyd, company VP for AI at Microsoft, says the Digital Assistant Accelerator pulls collectively some AI instruments reminiscent of speech-to-text, pure language processing and an motion engine right into a single place to simplify bot creation.
“It’s a device that makes it a lot simpler so that you can go and create a digital assistant. It orchestrates quite a few elements that we provide, however we didn’t make them simple to make use of [together]. And so it’s actually simplifying the creation of a digital assistant,” he defined.
At present’s acquisition comes on the heels of quite a few AI-related acquisitions. The corporate bought Semantic Machines in Could to provide customers a extra life-like dialog with bots. It snagged Bonsai in June to assist simplify AI growth. And it grabbed Lobe in September, one other device for making it simpler for builders to include AI of their functions.