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Microsoft’s bots will soon learn more of natural language as company acquires Wand Labs

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Fresh on the heels from its LinkedIn acquisition, Microsoft isn’t stopping just yet. The redmond giant has now acquired messaging app developer Wand Labs, in a bid to provide its minions — a.k.a. bots — with a flair for natural language.

A blog post from Microsoft announces the same,

I am pleased to announce that Microsoft has acquired messaging app developer Wand Labs. This acquisition accelerates our vision and strategy for Conversation as a Platform, which Satya Nadella introduced at our Build 2016 conference in March.

Founded by Vishal Sharma in 2013, Wand Labs is a startup working to provide an array of services through a conversational interface. The company’s messaging interface seeks to let you do fancy stuff like sharing songs to giving a friend the ability to control your smart devices.

The company is still pretty miniscule and has just seven employees with less than $3 million under its funding vest. However, as per reports coming from various sources, the acquisition is actually like a pipe dream come true for Wand Labs.

MS too, realises the expertise it gets access to, through Wand Labs acquisition and is looking to make Bing, smarter. The company says,

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 chat bots.

The acquisition sits in well with Microsoft’s increasing focus on a future that revolves around bots, agents, assistants, and other tools that can be controlled by typing or talking. The company’s technology will complement and strengthen Microsoft’s position in conversational intelligence and enable it to cpnnect people in more natural ways.

It builds on and extends the power of the Bing, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows platforms toempower developers everywhere.

Meanwhile, Vishal and his team will be enfolded in Microsoft’s existing hierarchy and will be joining the company as its employees.

Vishal is a unique talent and a well-respected thought leader in this area. We are confident that he and his team can make significant contributions to our innovation of Bing intelligence in this new era of Conversation as a Platform. I am excited to welcome Vishal and the Wand Labs team to Microsoft.

Vishal, who before Wand Labs did a stint at Google, also seemed to be very excited at the prospect of his upcoming work with Microsoft.

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. As such, I’m truly pleased to announce that Wand has been acquired by Microsoft.

Well, first LinkedIn and now Wand Labs. Microsoft seems to have come to the realization that buying beats creating from scratch. Why spend time in R&D when you can easily muster up the funds needed to buy all the tech you need.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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