Microsoft Acquires Text Analysis Service Equivio

Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Equivio, a text analytics service for legal and compliance that uses machine-learning techniques to identify documents relevant to their legal and compliance needs. Microsoft plans to use Equivio’s eDiscover and information governance tools to improve Office 365’s offerings in these areas.

“We are making this acquisition to help our customers tackle the legal and compliance challenges inherent in managing large quantities of email and documents,” writes Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365 Rajesh Jha in today’s announcement. “Traditional techniques for finding relevant documents are falling behind as the growth of data outpaces peoples’ ability to manually process it.”

Neither Microsoft nor Equivio disclosed the financial details of the transaction, but early rumors pegged the price at around $200 million.

Equivio’s line of Zoom products help businesses better manage their documents by applying machine learning techniques to automatically cluster documents into relevant groups and to identify unique documents. Once trained, Equivio’s information governance tools can then classify records according to their retention needs.

The service also offers a number of search tools to help its users quickly find documents relevant to a specific subjects — something that’s especially useful in legal cases and investigations. Equivio’s customers include the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, as well as “hundreds of law firms, corporations and other organizations.”

There are no immediate changes to Equivio’s offerings, but Microsoft’s future plans for the Equivio’s stand-alone services remain unclear. A company spokesperson only told us that Microsoft intends to incorporate Equivio’s technologies into its own products and that it will “share more on this in the near future.”