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Microsoft has bought text analytics provider Equivio — an acquisition that should both add another piece to the Office 365 puzzle and give Microsoft considerable traction in document-heavy enterprises like legal or financial firms.

While neither company would confirm the sales price, there is speculation the deal closed for about $200 million. If that's correct, Microsoft snapped up some pretty impressive text analytics for a relatively reasonable sum. In fact, the technology could end as a premium layer to Office 365 once Microsoft starts pulling it into its wider portfolio.

What's Next?

No one knows what Microsoft is going to do with Equivio, other than the fact that it will "share more on this in the near future.” In a statement, however, Microsoft did note that it would honor Equivio’s existing agreements with current customers and partners and that it would work with all these players moving forward.

However, a blog post from Rajesh Jha, Corporate Vice President, Outlook and Office 365, offers a little insight about plans for Zoom, Equivio’s platform for analytics and predictive coding. Zoom enables users to yes, zoom in on the data that’s important to them. In e-discovery, Zoom is used to make sense of the case, pinpoint key documents, cull the collection and organize the review.

According to Jha, Microsoft is buying Equivio specifically to help enterprises deal with the legal and compliance challenges, particularly the volumes of documents generated by capture, traditional methods or email. Jha also noted current techniques for keep this flow of information in check and that a new approach is needed to keep on top of the problem.

Equivio’s solution applies machine learning to help solve these problems, enabling users to explore large, unstructured sets of data and quickly find what is relevant, Jha wrote.

Zoom provides advanced text analytics to carry out multi-dimensional analysis of data collections sorting documents into associated groups, duplicates, unique data and ‘discovering’ specific documents that users need, rather than simply throwing up documents that are associated and leaving the users to sort through them.

Even better, the system also has the ability to ‘learn’. Enterprises that install the system can teach it to identify specific kinds of documents establishing iterative processes that are more accurate and cost effective than keyword searches and manual review.

That aside, Jha doesn’t say much except that it will be used to make Office 365’s existing e-discovery and information governance tools to make them more intelligence and easy to use for Office 365 users.

It is clear, though, that these abilities could be added to other Microsoft products like SharePoint in its capacity as an enterprise content management system, or for other functions in Office 365 like document management. Microsoft said it will reveal its plans soon.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicenseTitle image by  liza31337.