Microsoft acquires messaging app vendor Wand Labs

Microsoft has purchased messaging-app vendor Wand Labs to bolster its bot and 'conversation-as-a-platform' strategy.

Microsoft is buying messaging-app vendor Wand Labs Inc. to beef up its conversation-as-a-platform strategy, officials announced on June 16.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

From Microsoft's blog post announcing the deal:

"The Wand team's expertise around semantic ontologies, services mapping, third-party developer integration and conversational interfaces make them a great fit to join the Bing engineering and platform team, especially with the work we're doing in the area of intelligent agents and chat bots."

Microsoft took the wraps off its conversation as a platform strategy at its Build 2016 conference in late March 2016. The company outlined plans to encourage developers to build bots for Microsoft's various platforms, including Skype, at that time.

Microsoft is trying to make the idea of extending apps with Bing's intelligence easier. The company is packaging up some of its Bing intelligence and delivering it to developers in the form of bots and a bot development framework.

According to a note on Wand's web site, Wand will be shutting down its existing service.

Wand Labs, based in Foster City, Calif., was founded in 2013. Its initial product was mobile application that allowed users to share music, videos, and locations.

Here's an article from last year that explains what Wand's technology does, as the company's Web site sheds no light at all on what Wand's messaging app/service is meant to do. In short, it sounds like it's a combination of a personal assistant plus a messaging-app hub.