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Microsoft acquires mobile-search company

Software maker gobbles up Paris-based company to help bring its Windows Live effort to cell phones.

Microsoft has purchased MotionBridge, a Paris-based company that specializes in mobile search.

The move, announced Monday, comes amid an increased focus on search generally and as Microsoft prepares to launch mobile-search capabilities as part of its overall Windows Live services effort.

"The emerging field of mobile search is strategically important and crucial to delivering on our vision for Windows Live of providing a seamless and rich information experience for individuals and businesses across devices," MSN corporate vice president Christopher Payne said in a statement. "With MotionBridge, we are excited to continue to offer mobile operators the tools to maximize the value of their content and data networks, and provide a powerful search engine for mobile users."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Microsoft said it plans to continue offering MotionBridge's current services--which are used by cell phone operators such as Sprint Nextel, O2 and Orange--and use the company's people and technology to expand the mobile capabilities of Windows Live.

The company made the announcement at the 3GSM World Congress, a cell phone trade show, in Barcelona, Spain. Microsoft has already used the show to talk up its e-mail software for mobile phones. CEO Steve Ballmer is slated to speak at the show Tuesday.