Does Microsoft + Powerset Beat Google?

by admin July 4, 2008 at 1:12 pm

What can the plan be with Microsoft’s purchase of hot startup Powerset? The 3-year old company, founded by Dr Barney Pell, recently launched a semantic search experience for Wikipedia.

It is doubtful that Microsoft bought the company just to enhance Live Search. Possibly the plan is to replicate the Wikipedia solution, then incorporate Powerset into Internet Explorer. In this post we look at what the thinking behind the acquisition might be.

Most initial reviews found the Powerset product release underwhelming. Critics appreciated the innovative semantic UI and recognized its potential, but believed it didn’t vastly improve Wikipedia. So in view of the lukewarm reviews, the acquisition by Microsoft was unexpected. The 100M price tag is around 5x the 12M Series A + 8M investment put into the company. Microsoft execs must believe Powerset can be a weapon in its battle with Google.

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