I thought Kara Swisher knew what she was talking about, but apparently NOT. MSFT today announced they bought Powerset, a Silicon Valley young company that has Google-level, or better, talent. Their search platform is unique and could give MSFT a fighting chance to compete with Google. And, they don't need tired, constipated Yahoo and its mediocre Panama to do it.
Microsoft buys search start-up Powerset By John Letzing, MarketWatch
Last update: 2:57 p.m. EDT July 1, 2008 SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)
Microsoft Corp. confirmed Tuesday it has acquired Internet search start-up Powerset Inc. for an undisclosed amount, in a bid to expand the software giant's Web prowess in the wake of its failed effort to acquire Yahoo Inc. In a blog post, MSFT senior vice president of search, portal and advertising Satya Nadella wrote that Microsoft was primarily interested in the engineering talent at San Francisco-based Powerset.
"We're buying Powerset first and foremost because we're impressed with the people there," Nadella wrote.
Powerset specializes in so-called "natural language" technology, which is meant to better intuit what users are looking for than traditional search engines by analyzing the intent and meaning of queries -- so that, for example, a search page could understand the difference between a search for "cancer" the disease, and "cancer" the astrological sign. "The shared vision is to take search to the next level," Nadella wrote.
Microsoft is struggling to capture a greater share of the online search market currently dominated by Google. The Redmond, Wash.-based company in February disclosed a $44.6 billion bid to buy Yahoo in an effort to team up against Google in the search market, though the companies ultimately failed to negotiate a merger.
Powerset, which has raised more than $10 million in funding and released its first publicly available service in May, is one of a number of Silicon Valley start-ups designed to blunt Google's dominance of the lucrative search advertising market.
I think google search tech and even Panama is much better than the new start up unproven tech. In addition when you have that large market shares and then #1 & #2 are joining together with time is not a luxury on this business space, forget better tech in the meantime plus YHOO has the scale and google will be using that scale, almost I say forget it.
I don't think Wikipedia search is going to help them much. Powerset semantic search is dog slow. Their best bet is to lose Live.com and revamp MSN - incorporating Aquantive and Powerset... might have a fighting chance.
I didn't know this about semantic search. However, since Powerset is young, with drive, and has very talented engineers, who knows what they could be capable of doing with MSFT's money behind them? Plus, Powerset will probably be attractive to tech engineers looking for jobs who have left other firms (e.g., Yahoo!).
Hey, MSFT wouldn't buy Powerset if they were still interested in YHOO. I am really thinking this deal is/has been dead for some time now.
You forgot to mention that google passed on powerset they didnt feel semantic search is the future of search---anyways these semantic search engines are a dime a dozen no one has proven they work---check out techcrunch