Swype revolutionized the way millions of people input text on Android devices, with the simple swipe of a finger. Founded by Cliff Kushler and led by CEO Mike McSherry, the Seattle company’s technology almost magically reproduced text as users moved their fingers across letters on touchscreen keypads.
It raised cash, rolled out new features and was on the path to record some 100 million installations of the software when suitors came knocking. In early October, Nuance Communications agreed to gobble up Swype for a cool $102.5 million.
The acquisition marks the second big hit for Kushler, an inventor in the purest sense of the word who came up with idea for the Swype after tinkering with methods to help those with disabilities input text on computers.
Prior to Swype, Kushler developed the T9 text input software at Tegic Communications, which was sold to AOL in 1999. Interestingly, Nuance eventually bought Tegic from AOL, and kept many of the company’s employees in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.
That means Swype’s more than 90 employees don’t have far to travel for their new gig at Nuance, and Kushler can continue to rethink text input as we know it with some of his former cronies.