Microsoft to acquire XOXCO to advance conversational AI and bot development

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Microsoft to acquire XOXCO

Microsoft announces intent to buy XOXCO to bolster push for conversational AI.

Microsoft has announced its intent to buy XOXCO – an Austin based software developer company focused on bot design and development. It will be the fourth AI-related company to be acquired by Microsoft, this year.

Conversational AI is gradually becoming a new model of engagement between employees and customers. Microsoft, identifying the growing opportunity, has kept a special focus on AI throughout this year. This becomes evident with the various acquisitions it made this year.

XOXCO was initially founded in 2009, though the company came into bot development in 2013. It was credited for the creation of first commercially available bot for Slack – Howdy, to help schedule meetings. Later, the Botkit development introduced new development tools which is used by a large number of developers on GitHub.

Microsoft aims to simplify AI experience for developers by allowing them to tap into Azure platform or downloading a bot framework via GitHub.

With this acquisition, we are continuing to realize our approach of democratizing AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate.” Lili Cheng – Corporate Vice President, Conversational AI, wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft’s new Virtual Assistant Accelerator solution – announced today, further fits into its intent to acquire XOXCO. The solutions accelerator is designed to perform actions like finding local services or answering simple questions, through some premade skills. It uses Microsoft Bot Framework – which is available as service in Microsoft Azure and on GitHub. However, the new solution is in preview for now.

The acquisition is line with Microsoft’s previous acquisitions this year. The tech giant acquired Semantic Machines earlier in May, followed by Bonsai acquisition in June. Then in September, the company acquired Lobe and recently in October it acquired GitHub in one of the most significant acquisitions of the year.

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