last week in a surprise deal, but it appears that the company also took over another firm, this time for significantly less money (the exact terms of the deal are not available, but there’s no way Microsoft would have paid as much as it did for LinkedIn -$26.2 billion).
Wand, a company that was founded in 2013 by former Google employee Vishal Sharma, is building natural language and AI messaging solutions, and Microsoft says that it needs the technology for its Bing intelligence and Conversation as a Platform effort announced by CEO Satya Nadella at Build in March.
“I’m proud of the work my team has done and what we’ve already accomplished in this emerging space. I’m delighted to be joining a company that shares our passion and enthusiasm for this new era where conversation is the central focus. Making experiences for customers more seamless by harnessing human language is a powerful vision and one that motivates me and my team,” Sharma said in the takeover announcement.
His company has only seven employees but builds the technology behind several renowned solutions, so by joining Microsoft, the team can integrate all these products into services such as Bing and Cortana. Microsoft is believed to be planning to use Wand tech for chatbots, which, in the company’s opinion, are the next big thing for the industry.
Continued investments in chatbots
The software giant has already demonstrated bots at the recent Build conference, showing how they can fulfill a number of automated interactive tasks for users, including weather forecasts, hotel reservations, and bookings.
David Ku, Corporate Vice President, Information Platform Group, explains that this acquisition helps the company continue its investments in the Conversation as a Platform push and opens the door to new capabilities in a number of technologies, including Bing, Azure, Office 365, and Windows.
“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 concluded.