It seems artificial intelligence is the latest fad for Microsoft (MSFT), with most of the company’s expansion initiatives this year centered around AI technology, mainly through acquisitions. After more than two years of research and strategic investments, the company is currently well-equipped to provide several AI-related solutions.
Of late, a key area of its focus has been providing technical assistance to businesses for integrating AI into their systems, through open source tools and the Azure cloud platform where cognitive services are stored in containerized format.
One of the outcomes of the ongoing efforts will be the democratization of AI, to the extent where everyone would get seamless access to the technology. It assumes importance considering the growing concerns about the safe and ethical use of AI, with many fearing that unregulated deployment of AI-assisted systems could result in more damage than benefits.
Of late, the company’s focus has been to provide technical assistance to businesses for integrating AI into their systems
Being one of the most innovative among Microsoft’s business strategies so far, the AI partnerships will unlock significant shareholder value in the coming years. The focus is on facilitating AI-assisted communication on the digital space using advanced algorithms and a vast repository of data.
In the latest among the efforts to ramp up its AI prowess, the software giant this week revealed plans to acquire Austin-based software firm Xoxco, which is specialized in the development of conversational bots. The financial terms of the deal are not known. Earlier this year, Microsoft had added AI technology firms Semantic Machines and Lobe into its fold.
The company recently developed a special tool called Virtual Assistant Accelerator to develop conversational bots more effectively. It is estimated that by 2020, about 50% of the leading consumer-oriented enterprises will be using conversational AI to engage with customers.
Microsoft shares gained about 20% since the beginning of the year and 29% over the past twelve months. The stock entered a downward spiral this week and continued the trend Wednesday.