Microsoft has been in acquisition discussions with email startup Xobni, we’ve confirmed through multiple sources. The company, which launched at the TechCrunch40 conference last year, currently offers an outlook plugin for Windows users that significantly improves the desktop email experience (particularly search).
Microsoft may have first approached the company months ago and floated an offer of sub $20 million, which was apparently rejected. But the company, which recently hired notable Yahoo’er Jeff Bonforte as CEO, is now back at the table with Microsoft corporate development.
Xobni currently only works with Outlook, although the company has said they will extend to integrate with other email clients, instant messaging applications, and social networks in the future. The current product creates an information profile for each person you interact with, and surfaces historical information that is relevant to what you are working on. Xobni displays contact information, threaded conversations, attachments, related people, email usage statistics, and information from the web. See our post from January with a more detailed overview of the service.
The company was founded in 2006 by Adam Smith and Matt Brezina, with early funding from Y Combinator. Other investors include Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Ron Conway and Baseline Ventures, Atomico Investments, Paul Buchheit, Ariel Poler, Saar Gur, and Tom Pinckney.
Xobni has not yet responded to our request for comment.
Update: Zoli Erdos points out that Bill Gates loves Zobni: