Two and a half years ago, a strange ripple struck the misty waters of the Android ecosystem: Microsoft, a company that had long been a footnote to modern mobile computing, was buying SwiftKey — one of the most popular and seemingly successful keyboards across all of Android (and beyond).

From the outside, the announcement seemed to come out of nowhere. SwiftKey was an Android staple — one of the earliest keyboard success stories on the platform and a popular choice for phone-makers, too — and Microsoft was, well, Microsoft. The company was still outwardly focused on its own Windows Phone platform, and it even had its own cross-platform keyboard app under active development. (It formally killed that effort off last summer.)

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