Microsoft acquisition will bring AI to everyone

September 17, 2018 // By Rich Pell
Microsoft (Redmond, WA) has announced that is has acquired AI startup Lobe (San Jose, CA), whose platform lets users build machine learning models using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Lobe's platform is a simple visual interface that lets users easily create intelligent apps that can understand hand gestures, hear music, read handwriting, and more. The acquisition of Lobe, says Microsoft, is intended "to help bring AI development capability to everyone."

"In many ways though, we're only just beginning to tap into the full potential AI can provide," says Kevin Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft in a blog post announcing the acquisition. "This in large part is because AI development and building deep learning models are slow and complex processes even for experienced data scientists and developers. To date, many people have been at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing AI, and we're committed to changing that."

On Lobe's part, the company adds, "Lobe is excited to join Microsoft to accelerate its development and rollout. As part of Microsoft, Lobe will be able to leverage world-class AI research, global infrastructure, and decades of experience building developer tools. We plan to continue developing Lobe as a standalone service, supporting open source standards and multiple platforms."

Lobe's platform can be seen as complementing Microsoft's Azure ML Studio platform , which the company describes as a "powerfully simple browser-based, visual drag-and-drop authoring environment where no coding is necessary." Microsoft has recently acquired other AI companies, including Bonsai, developer of a deep reinforcement learning platform, and conversational AI startup Semantic Machines .

Lobe was founded in 2015 with the mission "to make deep learning accessible to everyone." Its visual tool lets users build custom deep learning models, quickly train them, and ship them directly in an app without writing any code.

Lobe
Microsoft AI

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