Microsoft acquires messaging app developer Wand Labs for “Conversation as a platform”

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Microsoft seems to be on a spending spree as of late: the company’s biggest acquisition in its history just happened, and today yet another has been announced on the Microsoft blog: this time, it’s messaging platform developer Wand Labs.

Wand Labs’ technology and talent will strengthen our position in the emerging era of conversational intelligence, where we bring together the power of human language with advanced machine intelligence — connecting people to knowledge, information, services and other people in more relevant and natural ways.

– David Ku, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Information Platform group

Wand Labs’ namesake product is a platform for integrating services into messaging. Wand uses its connection to services to provide partner messaging apps with the ability to display and run services directly within chat sessions, through APIs and optional UI containers. Additionally, Wand can also provide a co-branded customized consumer app to customers. The service was launched in 2013 by CEO Vishal Sharma, making it a three-year run before being acquired by Microsoft this year.

Our deep experience with semantics, messaging and authority are a natural fit for the work already underway at Microsoft, especially in the area of intelligent agents and cognitive services.

– Vishal Sharma, CEO and Founder, Wand Labs

The acquisition is also in line with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s introduction of a new concept at this year’s Build 2016: Conversation as a Platform, which is explained as combining human language and machine intelligence to connect people to information, services and others in more natural ways.

Here's a look at how Wand Labs' service works. Credits: Wand Labs.
Here’s a look at how Wand Labs’ service works. Credits: Wand Labs.

According to the original post, Wand Labs’ capabilities are expected to enhance Bing, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows in the future, and the developer team will be joining the Bing engineering and platform team; the service itself, however, will be shut down.

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