Jan 7 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said it would buy cloud-based software maker Parature Inc, which helps businesses manage help desks and provide other customer support services.
Parature's software helps businesses provide automated customer service, manage online discussion boards and forums, and conduct online surveys.
The company's customers include Ask.com, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, International Business Machines Corp and Saba Software Inc.
Microsoft did not disclose the terms of the deal.
The acquisition will boost Microsoft's Dynamics unit, which makes business software and counts Mattress Firm Holding Corp , Pandora Media Inc and Nissan Motor Co as customers.
Cloud computing, a broad term referring to the delivery of services via the Internet from remote data centers, is a favorite with businesses because it is faster to implement and has lower upfront costs than traditional software.
Oracle Corp said in December that it would buy web-based marketing software maker Responsys Inc for about $1.39 billion to bolster its cloud computing offerings.
Salesforce.com Inc, the biggest maker of online sales management tools, said in June that it would pay $2.5 billion for marketing software maker ExactTarget, which helps companies reach customers on social networks through mobile devices.
Microsoft shares rose around 1 percent to $36.41 on Tuesday morning on the Nasdaq.