Microsoft recently announced the acquisition of XOXCO, a Texas-based AI startup famous for a friendly chatbot called Howdy. The chatbot helps Slack work chat app users to schedule meetings. XOXCO also created Botkit which was incidentally acquired by Microsoft. The acquisition lineup includes Semantic Machines in May, Bonsai in July and Lobe in September.
Microsoft plans to use XOXCO’s technology to support and improve their Bot Framework. This framework is used for Facebook messenger bot development that helps over 360,000 developers. Along with this acquisition, Microsoft announced other enhancements to its AI platform including Cognitive Service Containers. This service makes it easier for developers to run AI-based services for both in domestic and industrial settings on internet-connected devices.
The big idea behind the acquisition is to train connected devices by connecting them back to the cloud to get advanced updates and get smarter and faster.
Lili Cheng, corporate VP of conversational AI at Microsoft said, “We have shared goals to cultivate a community of startups and innovators, share best practices and continue to augment our goal on conversational AI, as well as to develop tools for enabling people to create experiences that do more with speech and language.”
She further added, “Conversational AI is quickly becoming a way in which businesses engage with employees and customers: from designing virtual assistants and redesigning customer interactions to using conversational assistants to help employees interact and work properly together.”