Microsoft has made a couple of significant announcements related to its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts. First, it purchased Xoxco, the Austin-based development firm behind the Howdy.ai bot for Slack that helps to schedule meetings. “With this acquisition, we are continuing to realize our approach of democratizing AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate,” said Lili Cheng, Microsoft's corporate VP for conversational AI. Microsoft has also recently acquired several other AI startups, including Semantic Machines, Bonsai and Lobe.
Second, Microsoft announced a new Virtual Assistant Accelerator solution designed to make it easier for developers to create their own bots.