Microsoft has been on a spending spree. Just days after announcing that it will buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, the company said Thursday that it has acquired messaging app developer Wand Labs in a bid to provide its minions — a.k.a. bots — with a flair for natural language.
The deal is part of Microsoft’s bigger strategy in developing its “conversation as a platform.”. 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 focuses on semantic ontologies, services mapping, third-party developer integration and conversational interfaces. 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 minuscule 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. Wand Labs’ team will be added to Microsoft’s Bing team and will focus on artificial intelligence and online 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 connect people in more natural ways.
Basically, this could all one day lead to machines that are so smart that you’d have no idea you’ve been chatting with one for months.