What you need to know
- Microsoft invests an unconfirmed sum of money into Builder.ai, a startup specializing in low-code app development software.
- Buider.ai's in-house AI, codenamed Natasha, will integrate into Microsoft Teams alongside Microsoft's own AI suite powered by Azure.
- Low-code app suits allow users with little to zero knowledge of coding to create desktop or mobile apps and help distribute them to consumers.
In another example of Microsoft's commitment to making AI tools genuinely helpful, it has invested a confidential amount of cash into Builder.ai — a startup company aiming to make app development approachable for anyone, regardless of coding knowledge. Looking to combine Builder.ai's in-house AI assistant 'Natasha' with its Azure platform and various tools gained via Microsoft's partnership with OpenAI, users will soon be able to build apps within Microsoft Teams collaboratively.
Determining how Builder.ai will operate within Microsoft Teams among the usual slew of corporate-speak within the announcement is tricky. Still, given its stance as a low-code platform, it doesn't seem unreasonable to translate its Builder suite into a collaborative Teams environment. The official statement explains the goal of helping users 'create AI-powered solutions that empower businesses to develop applications and become digitally native without the need for any technical expertise.'
It's a fancy way of describing its building-block approach to app development rather than learning an entire coding language to create something simple for desktop or mobile devices. A fascinating yet somewhat hidden detail relates to the apparent integration of apps built with Builder.ai to the Microsoft Teams Store, a business-focused app repository, to help quickly distribute your app to internal or external users.
It's not a completely alien landscape for Microsoft, given their current experiments with AI inside Power Apps, closely resembling the low-code stylings of Builder.ai. Without knowing exactly how much money went into securing this deal, it's still evident that Microsoft has no desire to reduce its efforts to become the top dog in AI-powered software.
Google still stands as its most relevant rival with Bard AI, but for any company already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, offering powerful app-building tools to those with low-to-zero coding knowledge can only benefit developers worldwide.
Microsoft's corporate vice president Jon Tinter expects the deal to create "an entirely new category that empowers everyone to be a developer," which aligns with the rapid advancements affecting tech startups and established giants.
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Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @email@example.com to ask questions or share opinions.