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Microsoft Acquires Wand Labs to Boost Chatbot Efforts

Alex Spencer

MS WandMicrosoft has acquired messaging app developer Wand Labs for an undisclosed sum.

It's the company's second purchase within a week, following on from its $26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn, announced Monday.

Founded in 2013, Wand's technology is focused on pulling natural language processing and a wider range of third-party services into messaging apps. The acquisition will see its service shut down – its apps have already been removed from the App and Play Store – with its technology being folded into Microsoft's existing offer.

It's all part of Microsoft's 'Conversation as a Platform' push, announced by CEO Satya Nadella at Build 2016– so we can expect to see Wand's tech being leveraged to create smarter chatbots.

"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 chatbots," said David Ku, corporate VP of Microsoft's information platform group.

"The work we’ve been doing with predictive assistance and delegated authority is at the leading edge of a broader technology shift that is redefining the information industry," said Wand CEO Vishal Sharma. "It’s an exciting time to be working in the area of semantics and conversation – an area that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has highlighted as core to the future and calls Conversation as a Platform.

"Our deep experience with semantics, messaging and authority are a natural fit for the work already underway at Microsoft, especially in the area of intelligent agents and cognitive services."

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