Last week when 8x8 made an acquisition I remarked that there would be more. A day later Dialpad announced their purchase. Today, it's Microsoft's turn with the purchase of Semantic Machines.
It's easy to speculate why its become a BUY vs. BUILD game surrounding AI. The smart money on the BUY side recognizes that there have been teams working on AI in many different discreet niches, and in turn those teams have developed massive understanding of those specific spaces. That knowledge and specificity is known as domain experience, so while 8x8's move is surrounding contact centers, and Dialpad's is around better understanding of the voice conversation in real time, Microsoft move is about the entire range of conversations (voice, video, text, bots) between man and machine across the board in including ML (Machine Learning), NLP (natural language processing) and likely NN (neural networks).
My view is that AI will only get more entrenched in business and technology, and the buying of what imaginative minds create won't be stopping any time soon. But it's not the buying or building that matters. It's the implementation and adoption that does, for selling in is one thing, but selling through is where it counts.
SNARKY NOTE: Perhaps Microsoft will outsource the thinking behind Skype to AI, as pal Om Malik's quip from last week entitled "Skype Interrupted" and the related Bloomberg article, leads one to realize that the humans behind Skype sure aren't thinking.