Microsoft has announced that it will be discontinuing iOS support for its predictive QWERTY Keyboard application software, Swiftkey. The keyboard application will reportedly be delisted from the Apple App Store on October 5. However, iOS users who have already installed the Swiftkey application on their iPhone, or iPad will be able to continue using the application until it is manually uninstalled or when the user migrates to another iOS device.
Microsoft acquired the predictive keyboard technology company SwiftKey for a reported GBP 250 million (roughly Rs. 1,990 crore) in 2016, and has since been working on developing Android, and iOS capabilities for the application while integrating it with its own Word Flow touch keyboard technology for Windows.
While the company has confirmed its decision to withdraw from the Apple iOS ecosystem, the reason behind the development has not been publicly stated. However, Apple’s policies around safeguarding its walled garden could be the reason behind Microsoft discontinuing Swiftkey support on iOS devices, according to a report by ZDnet.
The technology used by Swiftkey is built on algorithms that analyze large amounts of text, to predict what users are trying to type using artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing. In order for the predictive technology to work, it requires integration and grant of permissions that then allows the algorithms to analyze the user’s word usage and typing patterns. This grant of access could be lacking at Apple with the stricter policies now in place, according to the report.
A Reddit user had first highlighted the lack of updates on the Microsoft Swiftkey app on the Apple App Store, in a thread. The app hadn’t received an update in more than a year.
Microsoft will however continue its support for SwiftKey on Android and the underlying technology that powers the Windows touch keyboard, confirmed Chris Wolfe, Director of Product Management at SwiftKey, in a statement to ZDnet.