Microsoft acquires legal-focused machine-learning vendor Equivio

Microsoft has purchased Equivio, maker of a machine-learning platform for the legal industry, for an undisclosed amount.

Microsoft has purchased Equivio, an eDiscovery/compliance vendor with a specialization in text analysis, for an undisclosed amount.

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Microsoft officials announced the acquisition of the Israeli company -- its first acquisition of 2015 using more of its offshore cash -- on January 20.

Update: The Wall Street Journal reported back in October last year that Microsoft planned to buy Equivio for $200 million.

Update No. 2: A Microsoft spokesperson said the $200 million estimate was inflated and incorrect, but declined to provide a different figure.

"We are making this acquisition to help our customers tackle the legal and compliance challenges inherent in managing large quantities of email and documents," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Rajesh Jha in a blog post.

Equivio's main product is Zoom, a "court-approved machine learning platform" for the legal industry.

Microsoft is touting Equivio's machine-learning prowess as one of the reasons behind the acquisition. Microsoft's contention is machine learning will make sifting through emails and documents for relevant information that pertains to legal or compliance matters a faster and easier process.

Microsoft plans to use Equivio's machine-learning technology to improve Office 365's existing eDiscovery and information governance capabilities "in the months ahead," officials said.

Equivio's technology enables users "to explore large, unstructured sets of data and quickly find what is relevant," using text analytics for multi-dimensional analysis, the Softies said.

"The technology has achieved broad acceptance in the legal community as a valuable eDiscovery tool. Equivio customers include U.S. federal agencies and hundreds of law firms, corporations and other organizations," today's blog post said.

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