Microsoft Acquires Legal-Focused Analytics Vendor Equivio, Plans To Roll Tech Into Office 365

Microsoft said Tuesday it has acquired Equivio, an Israel-based vendor that develops text-based predictive analytics technology for e-discovery and regulatory compliance purposes.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reported in October that Microsoft had agreed to pay around $200 million to acquire Equivio, which was founded in 2004.

Equivio's powerful text analytics technology will help Microsoft's enterprise and government customers sift through massive amounts of documents to find relevant information, Rajesh Jha, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Outlook and Office 365, said in a blog post.

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

Sponsored post

[Related: Why Azure Machine Learning Service Could Be Microsoft's Secret Weapon In The Cloud]

Predictive analytics, also known as machine learning, crunches historical data to make informed calculations about what will happen in the future. It's basically the opposite of business intelligence technology, which slices and dices data to see what has happened in the past.

Microsoft is making big bets on predictive analytics, and CEO Satya Nadella often talks about how the company is using the technology internally. According to Nadella, Microsoft is uniquely qualified to help customers make use of data coming from server logs, sensor data and social networking sites.

Microsoft launched a preview of its Azure Machine Learning service last June, which lets developers embed predictive analytics into their applications.

Chris Matty, CEO of Versium, a Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft partner that uses the Azure Machine Learning service, told CRN in an interview that he's seen good results so far.

Working with a large wireless carrier, Versium has developed a predictive "lead score" for targeting new customers. It's performing four times better than traditional customer targeting mechanisms such as direct marketing, Matty said.

Equivio's customer base includes U.S. federal agencies and "hundreds of law firms, corporations and other organizations," and the technology has "broad acceptance" in the legal community, Jha said in the blog post.

Microsoft's Office 365 already has e-discovery and compliance features, and the software giant plans to weave Equivio into the suite of apps to make it even more powerful, said Jha in the blog post.