Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has bought a Montreal startup that is working on artificial intelligence, providing the software company another tool as it contends against peers. The startup, Maluuba, was introduced in 2010. It designs programs that utilizes natural-language processing, which assists computers interpret dialogue and advance reasoning capabilities in segments of research known as reinforcement learning and deep learning. Maluuba and Microsoft declined to reveal the purchase price.
With Maluuba’s software, for instance, workers at large companies can type a request to list an employee with specific knowledge, like a tax-law expert. The natural-language technology would sift through emails, corporate directories and documents to pinpoint the best person, as per the blog post from Harry Shum, who is Microsoft’s executive VP looking after artificial intelligence. Like many peers, Microsoft is racing to scale up its artificial-intelligence competences. Last April, Salesforce acquired deep-learning startup firm MetaMind, and later in August Apple selected machine-learning specialist firm Turi Inc.
In September, Microsoft developed an artificial-intelligence unit with 5,000 employees, putting Shum in charge. The segment includes both researchers and product managers, a pairing Microsoft expects will accelerate the launch of artificial-intelligence offerings. Maluuba’s know-how has been used in televisions and smartphones from brands such as LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co. A year earlier, at the CES trade show, the firm worked with Qualcomm Inc. in a test that allow drivers connect with an intelligent voice interface in a Maserati vehicle.
At that time, Maluuba raised $9 million from leading investors including Nautilus Ventures and Emerillon Capital to expand research and development. It has raised total $11 million, as per co-founder Sam Pasupalak. After Satya Nadella became CEO almost 3 years ago, Microsoft has completed several acquisitions. It has picked up over three dozen firms since, and promoted executives from acquired firms to senior posts to direct Microsoft in emerging businesses.