Microsoft buys machine learning company Equivio

Steven Loeb · January 20, 2015 · Short URL:

Microsoft will put the technology into eDiscovery and information governance in Office 365

It's funny how easily big data can so quickly turn into "too much data." Once data starts to pile up, sifting through it can become next to impossible, as can finding what you really want or need. Often we think of that in terms of businesses and their customer data, but it also applies to a whole host of businesses and professions, including lawyers.

For that reason Microsoft has acquired Equivio, a provider of machine learning technologies for eDiscovery and information governance, it was announced on Tuesday. No financial terms of the deal, Microsoft's first purchase of 2015, were disclosed.

"We are making this acquisition to help our customers tackle the legal and compliance challenges inherent in managing large quantities of email and documents," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Rajesh Jha, wrote in the blog post.

Founded in 2004, Equivio develops text analysis software, which organizes sets of documents and emails. That can include grouping near-duplicate documents, reconstructing email threads, clustering by subject, language detection, data mining, and predictive coding software that its clients can use to find relevant documents.

Equivio's products include Zoom E-Discovery, for litigators to find relevant documents and win cases; and Zoom Information Governance, which can classify records and easily quantify risk.

Microsoft revealed that it would be putting Equivio’s machine learning technology to use in Office 365 in order to make tools, such as eDiscovery and information governance capabilities "even more intelligent and easy to use in the months ahead."

"We are making this acquisition to help our enterprise customers more intelligently and cost-effectively tackle legal and compliance challenges," a Microsoft spokesperson told VatorNews. "Equivio’s machine learning and predictive coding technologies provide powerful ways for companies and government organizations to manage enormous volumes of documents and email for legal and compliance issues."

"We are expecting a significant number of Equivio employees to join Microsoft," the spokesperson said, and those who do joining Microsoft will join existing Microsoft teams in Israel, including at the Microsoft Israel Research and Development Center.

As for what will happen to Equivio going forward, Microsoft says that there will be no immediate changes to the current Equivio offerings. On a short announcement on its homepage, Equivio echoed the same sentiment.

Here is the statement the company wrote in full:

"When we launched Equivio, we had a vision to deliver innovative text analysis software to the legal market. It’s been an amazing ride. 

Along the way, our machine-learning technology has transformed the business process of e-discovery. By joining Microsoft, we will now have the opportunity to help many more customers layer these technologies into their standard operational and business practices.

Microsoft’s reach and scale is phenomenal and it’s just incredible to be part of it! Thank you to everyone who has supported us on this journey.". 

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