'

Microsoft buys AI startup Lobe

Lobe makes a visual platform on which users can build, train and ship custom deep learning models with little to no code writing.

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it has acquired Lobe, a San Francisco-based startup that makes a platform on which users can build, train and ship custom deep learning models. What makes its platform unique is a drag-and-drop visual interface that requires little to no code writing.

Also: Microsoft 365: A cheat sheet TechRepublic

In a blog post, Microsoft's EVP and CTO Kevin Scott explained that while breakthroughs in AI and deep learning are transforming modern technology, the process of developing and building theses systems is still slow and complex. As a result, fewer businesses are able to access AI and its potential.

With Lobe, users can drag in a folder of training examples from their desktop and the software will automatically build a custom deep learning model and begin training it. When it's done, the user just exports the model and ships it directly to their app.

Also: Special report: How to implement AI and machine learning (free PDF)

Lobe will continue operating as a standalone service supporting multiple platforms as part of Microsoft, according to another blog post from the Lobe team.

"As part of Microsoft, Lobe will be able to leverage world-class AI research, global infrastructure, and decades of experience building developer tools," the team wrote. "Together we are committed to making deep learning simple, understandable, and accessible to everyone."

Also: Microsoft Windows U-turn removes warning about installing Chrome, Firefox CNET

Microsoft has made a bevy of acquisitions this year, including GitHub, four gaming companies and an educational video-discussion vendor. But it's also maintained a keen focus on AI companies when scouting acquisitions. The Redmond tech giant bought Semantic Machines back in May in a push to accelerate its natural-language AI efforts, and in July it scooped up Bonsai, which specializes in machine teaching, reinforcement learning and simulation.

Previous and related coverage:

Here's how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade

Microsoft's much-hyped free upgrade offer for Windows 10 ended in 2016, right? Not exactly. The GWX tool may be gone, but all the other upgrade tools still work. The end result is an apparently valid digital license, and there's no evidence that the free upgrades will end any time soon.

How to install, reinstall, upgrade and activate Windows 10

Here's everything you need to know before you repair, reinstall, or upgrade Windows 10, including details about activation and product keys.

After Windows 10 upgrade, do these seven things immediately

You've just upgraded to the most recent version of Windows 10. Before you get back to work, use this checklist to ensure that your privacy and security settings are correct and that you've cut annoyances to a bare minimum.

How to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro for free

You've got a new PC running Windows 10 Home. You want to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Here's how to get that upgrade for free. All you need is a Pro/Ultimate product key from an older version of Windows.

Related stories: