We’re excited to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Powerset, a San Francisco-based search and natural language company.
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.
More importantly, Powerset brings to Live Search a set of talented engineers and computational linguists in downtown San Francisco. This is a great team with a wide range of experience from other search engines and research organizations like PARC (formerly Xerox PARC).
Powerset explains on its blog, why they decided to sell to Microsoft…
…building a large-scale semantic search engine is expensive, requiring an engineering effort and computing resources beyond what most start-ups could ever imagine. Because our goals around improving search align so well, Powerset has decided to team up with Microsoft. We believe that this is the fastest way to bring our technology to market at a large scale.
The company also explains that the deal will help answer the questions asked about its ability to scale…
The biggest feedback that we got when we launched our first product was: this is great, but when and how will we get Powerset go beyond Wikpiedia? Microsoft accelerates our ability to move Powerset to the entire web faster than anyone could have imagined.
No financial details at this time and no word on how long it will take Microsoft to blend Powerset’s semantic technology with Live Search, other than to expect announcements “in the coming months.”
I’ve already had my say on the deal, what do you think?