Microsoft to buy semantic search engine Powerset for $100M plus » VentureBeat: "Microsoft to buy semantic search engine Powerset for $100M plus
Matt Marshall | June 26th, 2008
Microsoft aquires PowersetMicrosoft, the software giant flush with billions of dollars in its warchest, has agreed to buy Silicon Valley semantic search engine Powerset, we’ve learned.
The purchase price is rumored to be slightly more than $100 million. An announcement is expected next month.
Powerset, of San Francisco, has developed a technology that attempts to understand the full meanings of phrases you type in while searching, and it returns results based on that understanding.
By buying Powerset, Microsoft is hoping to close the perceived quality gap with Google’s search engine. The move comes as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer continues to argue that improving search is Microsoft’s most important task. Microsoft’s market share in search has steadily declined, dropping further and further behind first-place Google and second place Yahoo.
Google has generally dismissed Powerset’s semantic, or “natural language” approach as being only marginally interesting, even though Google has hired some semantic specialists to work on that approach in limited fashion. Google’s search results are still based primarily on the individual words you type into its search b"