Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Business Technology

Microsoft is acquiring a Texas-based AI startup as it prepares for the next wave of the cloud wars

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it would acquire XOXCO, the software company behind a friendly chatbot called Howdy, that helps users of the popular Slack work chat app schedule meetings.

XOXCO, a nine-year-old Austin based company, also created Botkit, which provides development tools for the software development platform GitHub —which was, incidentally, offically acquired by Microsoft just last month. Also of note is that Slack is the primary rival to Microsoft Teams, the tech titan’s own chat app.

“We have shared goals to foster a community of startups and innovators, share best practices and continue to amplify our focus on conversational AI, as well as to develop tools for empowering people to create experiences that do more with speech and language,” Lili Cheng, corporate VP of conversational AI at Microsoft, said in a statement.

Today, Microsoft plans to use XOXCO’s technology to improve the Microsoft Bot Framework, which currently supports over 360,000 developers. This framework helps people build bots for Facebook Messenger and other platforms that assist with customer service and other simple tasks.