Microsoft to acquire XOXCO to bolster push for conversational AI

Microsoft logo at Ignite
Microsoft logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that it has its sights set on AI as the future of computing. Nowhere has that been more obvious over the past year than in its acquisition targets, which have largely focused on a variety of companies that have significant experience in pushing AI forward, and Microsoft's latest acquisition is no different.

Microsoft today announced (opens in new tab) that it has signed an agreement to acquire XOXCO, a company that has focused on pushing forward conversational AI and bot development. In fact, XOXCO was responsible for Howdy, the first commercially available bot for Slack, which uses conversational AI to help schedule meetings. XOXCO also developed Botkit to give developers the tools to build their own bots.

From Microsoft:

We have shared goals to foster a community of startups and innovators, share best practices and continue to amplify our focus on conversational AI, as well as to develop tools for empowering people to create experiences that do more with speech and language.

Once the acquisition is completed, XOXCO will be the fourth AI-focused company to join Microsoft over the last six months. Others include Semantic Machines, Bonsai, and Lobe.

The end goal, Microsoft says, is to make AI and its development accessible to everyone. Microsoft's biggest emphasis is on making AI more natural and conversational, but the company is also working to put the tools to foster AI growth in developers' hands – something that was bolstered by Microsoft's recently completed GitHub acquisition.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Hope Nadella spends every last dime in cash reserves on AI and its bots and lets legacy Windows OS, Cortana, and mobile rot on the vine. AI is where all the serious money will be spent by fortune 500 companies in the next decade. Nadella is smart to sell his lifeblood to these billionaire tycoons and drive the stock price through the roof!!! Not only for our personal fortune, but for his own. ;0)
  • 0.o your pathway is extremely short sighted and naive. You need nodes and interaction points for conversation AI to be accessible, Cortana is the forefront of the next nexus whereas Windows and Mobile are the interaction points between Users and Cortana. The entire premise of conversational AI is in the name, a conversation between two entities and you cannot have a conversation with one way dialogue it makes zero sense whatsoever lol.... That is what your pathway proposes, a one way dialogue.