Microsoft is on a shopping spree this week. After its highly publicized $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn on Monday, the Redmond-based tech firm has made yet another purchase — this time, with a bit less fanfare. For an undisclosed amount, Microsoft has bought Wand Labs, a seven-person Silicon Valley-based startup whose mission is “to tear down app walls, integrate your services in chat, and make them work together so you can do more with less taps.” So maybe you can expect to see a more advanced chat bot in Microsoft’s upcoming plans.
“This acquisition accelerates our vision and strategy for Conversation as a Platform, which Satya Nadella introduced at our Build 2016 conference in March,” wrote corporate VP David Ku in Microsoft’s blog announcement of the acquisition. “Wand Labs’ technology and talent will strengthen our position in the emerging era of conversational intelligence, where we bring together the power of human language with advanced machine intelligence — connecting people to knowledge, information, services, and other people in more relevant and natural ways,” he added.
But as part of the deal, Microsoft is shuttering Wand’s services. That said, Wand CEO Vishal Sharma noted that fans of the service (at least those who were privy to the private beta), can “expect to see familiar elements of our work in the future.” This could include a number of tasks, from sharing songs to controlling appliances in your smart home.
“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,” Ku wrote. “We are confident that [Sharma] and his team can make significant contributions to our innovation of Bing intelligence in this new era of Conversation as a Platform.”
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