Microsoft Corporation Acquires An Imaging Startup To Make Skype Better

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has acquired a cinemagraph app maker, Swing Technologies, for an undisclosed amount. Its debut app SWNG allows a user to take indistinct, GIF-like short videos, which can be adjusted using a finger or a mouse. The Swing team will be merged into Microsoft’s Skype division.

Swing Technologies to help make Skype better

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Skype, Amritansh Raghav, stated that the Swing team’s expertise in imaging technology would help the company in delivering new features and capabilities for Skype.

“They have an impressive track record of delivering great user experiences and brand design around the technology they develop. I welcome the new team members and am excited about how Swing will deliver innovation to our customers,” Raghav said.

“This is a unique opportunity for the team to bring our ideas to a global audience,” Swing Technologies co-founder, Tommy Stadlen, said in a press release. “It’s an exciting time to join Microsoft, which is thriving under the leadership of Satya Nadella. We believe in the power of brands and technology, so the Skype mission and values resonate strongly with us.”

Launched back in 2016, Swing Technologies started as a small company with 10 employees, including ex-Apple engineers and MIT computer vision specialists. The SWNG app (originally called Polaroid Swing) was launched at the same time. At that time, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, who is also an investor in the startup, said SWNG aimed at changing the perception of people around images, just as 140 characters in Twitter has changed the way people think about words, according to TechCrunch.

“People will see the world in seconds; it’s a genre-defining medium,” Stone said.

According to the app analytics firm Apptopia, the lifetime download of the app was around 500,000. In the first three months of the launch, approximately 60,000 users used the app on average. However, the “last three have averaged about one-third of them,” Apptopia said.

Using acquisitions to grow

Over the past few years, Microsoft’s acquisition strategy has majorly focused on the company’s enterprise and cloud business. Though Microsoft has surrendered its dream of building a smartphone, the company looks determined to stay relevant in the mobile space with the help of apps.

The acquisition of Swing marks another of such efforts by Microsoft, which has constantly been updating Skype to keep it relevant. A recent desktop version of the app includes customizable themes, different colors and a new feature, which allows users to sort the chat lists by time, unread or status. Further, a new notification panel is also available to manage missed calls, message replies and reactions.

In separate news, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said that the company is looking to launch a game streaming service over the next three years. Talking to Bloomberg, Spencer noted that some of the games would not require the console. During the interview, Spencer also suggested that the company is willing to collaborate or acquire game studios to push the Xbox brand.

“We need to grow,” Spencer said, “and I look forward to doing that.”

On Monday, Microsoft shares closed up 0.39% at $84.47. Year to date, the stock is up almost 36%, while in the last three months, it is up over 16%.

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