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Microsoft acquires natural language deep learning startup Maluuba

Today, Microsoft quietly acquired Maluuba, a natural language deep learning startup based in Montreal. Microsoft made the announcement on their blog and Maluuba confirmed the acquisition on their own website.

Maluuba’s acquisition will strengthen Microsoft’s AI advancement and help Microsoft in many areas, especially the further development of Cortana. Maluuba has made significant steps by creating software that allows computers to read, write and communicate similarly to humans.

“Today is an exciting day for the advancement of AI at Microsoft. We have agreed to acquire Maluuba, a Montreal-based company with one of the world’s most impressive deep learning research labs for natural language understanding. Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help us advance our strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to everyone — consumers, businesses and developers. We’ve recently set new milestones for speech and image recognition using deep learning techniques, and with this acquisition we are, as Wayne Gretzky would say, skating to where the puck will be next — machine reading and writing.”

Yoshua Bengio, Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, has served as a special advisor to Maluuba, and will stay on in that role with Microsoft. Bengio is a world-renown expert in deep learning and will be a valuable asset to Microsoft.

In the next few months, Microsoft will presumably make more announcements regarding the combining of Maluuba’s software into Microsoft’s AI services. Stay tuned.

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What are your thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of Maluuba?