Microsoft has announced that is has acquired Xoxco, an Austin-based software startup which focuses on bot development and conversational artificial intelligence. The value of the deal was not disclosed by the companies, but sources close to the matter commented the acquisition aligns well with Microsoft’s overall expansion strategy this year.
There was also a recent announcement by the company regarding a new bot building tool that will make building conversational bots easier for companies. With this acquisition, the software giant will be able to further advance its focus on conversational AI, it said in a statement.
According to records, Xoxco has been credited with creating Howdy, the first bot made commercially available for Slack to schedule meetings, as well as Botkit, a bot to provide GitHub users with developer tools. Microsoft has apparently been partnering with Xoxco for years now.
Microsoft’s corporate vice president for conversational AI, Lili Cheng stated that through this acquisition, the company continues to realize its approach of democratizing the development of AI, conversation and dialog and to integrate conversational experiences where people are communicating. The company aims to make AI valuable and accessible to every organization and individual, Cheng said.
Ben Brown, Xoxco’s co-founder mentioned in post that the deal represents a promising future for bot builders and bots in general. The company is looking forward to beginning a new phase with Microsoft, Brown further commented.
Xoxco’s acquisition is only one of a number of deals Microsoft has made to support its focus on AI development. The company has bought Bonsai, Lobe, Semantic Machines and GitHub over the last six months. It is attempting to make it easier for developers who do not have experience in AI to tap into the expertise of Microsoft on Azure platform or by downloading the bot framework available on GitHub.