Shouldn’t Microsoft buy Grammarly?

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Grammarly seems like such a perfect and obvious acquisition for Microsoft and I don’t think they would be expensive. Office/Word would benefit greatly from it and Grammarly even has an Android keyboard now, they could integrate that tech into SwiftKey and the Windows 10 on-screen keyboard.

Comments (23)

23 responses to “Shouldn’t Microsoft buy Grammarly?”

  1. Dan1986ist

    First would US and EU regulators approve of said acquisition, if it happens, and would most people using Office be in favor of this? Just wondering.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Dan1986ist:

      Microsoft already has good grammar tools, and in different languages. I don't see what Grammarly would bring to the mix? There are plenty of grammar tools out there as well, especially in non-English languages, so I don't see a monopoly problem, with that purchase, I just don't see anything positive about it.

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to wright_is:

        If nothing else-- and assuming I understand how Grammarly works (I'm neither a Grammarly user nor a developer)-- It would give Microsoft a peek into what millions of people are writing outside of Office, including Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. Is it possible that the Grammarly Chrome extension even sees what users type into Google search? Even absent that, Grammarly could be a nice data source for Microsoft. Oh- it is also possible the algorithms or AI or whatever that Grammarly uses could also improve the built-in tools for Office.

        • wright_is

          In reply to Chris_Kez:

          If that were the case, Grammarly would be in serious trouble with data protection in Europe! Such spying would be illegal over here, so, I hope, for their sake, that they aren't doing what you suggest.

          And Grammarly doesn't do anything that Microsoft couldn't quickly do with their own proofing tools, if they wanted. They already have the difficult part (the spelling and grammar tools), they just need the easy part (a plug-in for web browsers and other applications).

          • Chris_Kez

            In reply to wright_is:

            If the Grammarly extension isn't reading everything you type, then how does it check spelling and grammar, or send personalized insights and statistics? These are the permissions that users grant when they install the extension:

            . Read and change all your data on the websites you visit

            . Display notifications

            . Communicate with cooperating websites

            . Modify data you copy and paste

            That sounds, to me, like they have access to everything you type in the browser-- but again this is not my area of expertise. I do know that these kinds of permissions are common for many of the Gmail extensions that people use.

            • wright_is

              In reply to Chris_Kez:

              Those are local rights for access to the web page etc.

              But if they are also sending all the data to their servers, they will be in breach of the GDPR, when it comes into force in May.

              • Chris_Kez

                In reply to wright_is:

                I understand what you're saying, but I don't think Grammarly can do what it does without sending data back to the cloud. Here are two related pieces of information from their FAQ:

                -Can I use Grammarly offline? Grammarly is an online application, which means your computer must be connected to the Internet. Grammarly requires a stable Internet connection to analyze your text and provide suggestions.

                -How does Grammarly review text so quickly? Grammarly has developed sophisticated but efficient patent-pending algorithms to analyze your text. These algorithms, combined with powerful, cloud-based computers, allow us to process large amounts of text both accurately and quickly. 

                To my admittedly untrained eye, these suggest that they are sending data back to the cloud. I can understand how this sounds surprising, but this is the way that tons of extensions work.

                At work we recently transitioned from Office 365 to G Suite, and as you can imagine there were a lot of "How do I do ___?" questions and the most common answer was "Download ___ extension". Actually, the most common answer was simply "You can't", but the directive to use an extension was so common that it became a bit of a joke. And the sticking point for most people was some kind of permission pop-up that basically says "you are giving us access to all of your mail so we can provide this service". And at a higher level, this is essentially what Google does with non-paying customers to deliver ads (and with paying customers to detect malware).

                I don't know enough about GDPR to comment intelligently, but I imagine it has provisions to allow for people to grant access to their data in exchange for services rendered. Maybe you can tell me a bit more about it from the perspective of someone who is seeing it develop up close.

  2. seapea

    No! Look at what happened to Sunrise and Wunderlist.


  3. jgnetworksecurity

    nnnnnnnooooo


    unless grammarly makes a lot of money, since Microsoft already has these skills in Office already

  4. Nic

    I tried Grammarly, but the impact to my system was more than I was willing to bear. Everything written on the web slowed to a crawl and it just didn't make sense to keep using it. I'll just continue to make basic grammar errors.

  5. wright_is

    Its biggest problem at the moment is that it only seems to be in English. Microsoft already have pretty good proofing tools in most languages, so it would make more sense to take their existing tools and use those.

  6. Paul Thurrott

    This is a great idea.

    Also, for those interested in Grammarly, this service---ProWritingAid---might be of interest as well. I signed up but have not really used it yet.

    https://prowritingaid.com/

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      I agree, but I'd want to see Microsoft keep them as a separate company. Lower the subscription costs a little bit to drive further adoption and use the service as a way to collect more data from users outside the Office bubble. Maybe create an Office add-in as a showcase to other independent developers; extensions/add-in's is one area where Google blows Microsoft away (I'd argue that most people couldn't happily run G Suite without extensions that fill all kinds of feature gaps).

  7. Martin Pelletier

    I do not know if it's the same thing as Grammarly. I use Antidote 9 from Druide. I use the French grammar correction module more than the English one. So I do not know how well Antidote fair against Grammarly.

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