Image: SwiftKey Image: SwiftKey

British artificial intelligence firm SwiftKey, which is known for its predictive mobile keyboards, has been bought by Microsoft.

The Financial Times has reported that the deal is worth around $250 million (£174m).

Both SwiftKey and Microsoft has refused to comment on "rumours and speculation", but SwiftKey, which is also famous for the technology behind the wheelchair of Professor Stephen Hawking, confirmed the deal on its blog this morning (Wednesday).

In the blog post, SwiftKey's co-founders Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock, said: "Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization [sic] on the planet to achieve more. Our mission is to enhance interaction between people and technology. We think these are a perfect match, and we believe joining Microsoft is the right next stage in our journey."

The move signals more evidence of Satya Nadella's plans to make Microsoft a more mobile-focused business. The Windows Phone has a tiny share of the smartphone market, and so Microsoft doesn't plan to expand that side of the business. Instead, acquisitions like SwiftKey will allow it to provide services and software that are available on any mobile device.