Microsoft devours another AI startup

Microsoft hopes that Genee will grant Cortana's wish - to become the most intelligent AI in all the land

Microsoft has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Genee, an artificial-intelligence-powered scheduling service.

The startup, co-founded by Ben Cheung and Charles Lee, is still in beta but Microsoft says that the plan is to fold the technology into its cloud productivity suite – Office 365. As a result, Genee will cease its services from September 1.

Using natural language processing and decision-making algorithms, Genee is a virtual assistant intended to simplify the scheduling of meetings. 

Last year, the company raised $1.45m in a funding round that included Aspiration Growth, Streamlined Ventures and other investors.

With today’s news, I’m excited to welcome the Genee team to Microsoft,” said Rajesh Jha - corporate vice president, Outlook and Office 365, in a blog post. “As we continue to build new Office 365 productivity capabilities and services our customers value, I’m confident the Genee team will help us further our ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience.”

Genee co-found Lee commented: “We consider Microsoft to be the leader in personal and enterprise productivity, AI, and virtual assistant technologies, so we look forward to bringing our passion and expertise to a team that is committed to delivering cutting-edge language and intelligence services.”

The major vendors such as Google and Apple, continue to plow money into their cognitive software platforms, certain that it is the next big market. By all accounts, enterprise users are yet to be convinced.

In June, Microsoft acquired Wand Labs, a smart messaging application.

Four months earlier, it acquired SwiftKey, a tool that predicts what users intend to type, based on previous communications.

Terms of the Genee deal were not disclosed.



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