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Microsoft Acquires Another AI Company, Lobe

Founded in 2015, Lobe makes an AI tool that lets developers build custom deep learning models for their apps without having to write code. The team plans to continue developing Lobe as a standalone service for multiple platforms.


Lobe

Microsoft has acquired San Francisco-based artificial intelligence technology startup Lobe for an undisclosed sum.

“Lobe’s simple visual interface lets people easily create intelligent apps that can understand hand gestures, hear music, read handwriting, and more,” Microsoft Executive Vide President and Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott wrote in a Thursday blog post.

Developing AI and deep learning models are generally “slow and complex processes even for experienced data scientists and developers,” Scott pointed out. Lobe – and Microsoft – want to change that.

Founded in 2015, Lobe makes an AI tool that lets developers build custom deep learning models for their apps without having to write code. The team plans to continue developing Lobe as a standalone service for multiple platforms.

“Lobe is excited to join Microsoft to accelerate its development and rollout,” the team wrote in a note on their website. “As part of Microsoft, Lobe will be able to leverage world-class AI research, global infrastructure, and decades of experience building developer tools. Together we are committed to making deep learning simple, understandable, and accessible to everyone.”

Scott echoed that sentiment, saying Lobe’s technology will put “AI development into the hands of non-engineers and non-experts.”

This is Microsoft’s third major AI-related purchase as of late, following its acquisitions of Semantic Machines in May and Bonsai in July. Berkeley, Calif.-based Semantic Machines makes “conversational AI” technology that lets users interact with bots using natural language that goes beyond simple commands and queries. Bonsai, also based in Berkeley, Calif., is building a “deep reinforcement learning platform” that lets enterprises build AI into industrial control systems.

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