Confirmed: Microsoft buys Powerset natural-language search

Summary:The rumors accumulating over the past few months were true: Microsoft has purchased natural-language search vendor Powerset for an undisclosed amount.

The rumors accumulating over the past few months were true: Microsoft has purchased natural-language search vendor Powerset for an undisclosed amount.

Microsoft announced the deal on July 1. Microsoft is planning to use Powerset's people and technology to "take Search to the next level by adding understanding of the Internet and meaning behind the words in searches and webpages," according to a post on the Live Search blog.

More from that posting by Satya Nadella, Senior Vice President of Search, Portal and Advertising:

"Powerset will join our core Search Relevance team, remaining intact in San Francisco. Powerset brings with it natural language technology that nicely complements other natural language processing technologies we have in Microsoft Research."

Some have taken to referring to Microsoft's purchase of Powerset as a piece of Microsoft's "Plan B" following the breakdown in acquisition talks between Microsoft and Yahoo.

(I noticed  Richard Sprague, Senior Director of Marketing in the Microsoft Research  Incubation team, hint via a blog post last week that his team had had some interesting interactions with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates just before Gates retired. Given Sprague's areas of focus, perhaps he was referring to Powerset.)

What do you think: Is the Powerset acquisition a good first move for Microsoft after the dissolution of the Yahoo deal?

Topics: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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