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Microsoft to acquire chatbot startup as it pushes for 'responsible AI'

XOXCO is the creator of Slack bot Howdy and Botkit on GitHub.

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Gerard Julien / AFP/Getty Images

Microsoft is continuing its push for responsible bots.

The company on Wednesday said it has agreed to acquire XOXCO, a startup that develops conversational artificial intelligence, aka chatbots. XOXCO's known for Howdy, a bot for Slack that helps schedule meetings, and Botkit, a program that provides tools for developers on GitHub, according to Microsoft's blog post.

"We have shared goals to foster a community of startups and innovators, share best practices and continue to amplify our focus on conversational AI," said the Microsoft blog post. "To develop tools for empowering people to create experiences that do more with speech and language."

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Microsoft and XOXCO didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The buyout could help Microsoft make AI more available and accessible. This corresponds to the company's other blog post published on Wednesday that shares Microsoft's guidelines for making responsible conversational AI.

Microsoft outlined 10 ethical suggestions, such as the importance of being transparent about using a bot in your products, making sure your bot is designed to respect cultural norms and guard it against misuse, and ensuring your bot is fair to everyone and respects privacy.