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Microsoft closes Powerset deal

The natural language search firm officially became part of Microsoft on Friday. Now the question is what Redmond will do with the technology.

Microsoft has now officially acquired Powerset, a natural language search firm, completing the deal it announced last month.

In a blog posting on Monday, Powerset's Mark Johnson said that integration efforts are already well under way. "This Thursday and Friday, there will be a bunch of folks down from Redmond for a symposium to share details about our respective technologies," Johnson said. "We're excited to learn about everything now available to Powerset in the Live Search stack. We're also excited to share the cool things we've cooked up here at Powerset and start planning opportunities for us to integrate with Live Search."


Terms of the deal were not announced, although VentureBeat reported ahead of the deal that the company was looking for $100 million or more from Microsoft.

Microsoft has also not gone into a ton of specifics on its plans for Powerset.

In an interview last month, Microsoft's Ramez Namm said that Powerset's technology will help Microsoft in its long-term effort to create a more ideal type of search, but said there are also some things that could be applied to Live Search soon, although he didn't offer any specifics.

Powerset had created a demonstration of its semantic, or natural language search technology using Wikipedia as the source against which it searched. I asked Namm and Powerset CTO Barney Pell how much time and money it would take to apply Powerset's approach to the entire Web. Namm wouldn't venture a guess on the time frame or cost. Pell, meanwhile, noted that the two main hurdles that Powerset had--limited hardware resources and a lack of core Web search technology--would be removed with Powerset as a part of Microsoft.