July 15, 2004 9:00 PM PDT

Microsoft buys Lookout to boost search

Microsoft's MSN division announced Thursday that it has acquired Lookout Software, a firm whose technology searches messages in the software giant's Outlook e-mail client.

Details of the acquisition remain murky, as Microsoft did not disclose financial terms and did not describe how Lookout will be integrated. What the company did say was the acquisition builds on MSN Search's ongoing efforts to refurbish itself through a series of changes.

"Our vision is to take search beyond today's basic Internet search services to deliver direct answers to people's questions, and help them find information from a broad range of sources," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN, said in a statement.

The acquisition comes two weeks after Microsoft unveiled a revamped version of MSN Search. The new design included a more streamlined interface that resembles Google's minimalist style. MSN also took out some advertiser links that were served by Yahoo, although it kept its paid-search relationship with the Web portal's Overture Services subsidiary.

Down the road, Microsoft plans to launch its own algorithmic search engine in hopes of competing more closely with Google. In the past year, the software giant has focused its attention on Google's dominance in Web searches. Part of Microsoft's development efforts involve bridging the power of Web search into the Windows operating system to search for files and documents.

In the meantime, Microsoft will incorporate Lookout's technology and developers into its family. One of its founders, Mike Belshe, will join the MSN Search team, while the other founder, Eric Hahn, will help with the transition.


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MS innovation = Buy another company
Ahh the best of MS innovation rears its stupid head.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
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An Excellent Buy for Microsoft
Microsoft made a sound investment in buy Lookout Software! I've been using a beta version of Lookout with my Outlook 2003 and found it to be the best and fastest search tool I've ever used! When I submitted a suggestion for adding features I got an almost instant response from one of the owners... who thanked me and gave me some undocumented tips on how to do more complex searches of both my email and other folders on my PC. A great product and MS was very wise to buy the company and incorporate their work into MS products and services. I consider MS's action "smart" not an "easy out" as some will suggest!
Posted by tomleonard (1 comment )
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Yeah thank you Microsoft. That was a very wise decision and helped a lot of people. Oh, by the way this is irony. Thanks to Microsoft, there is no lookout for Office 2007. I do not know why they did that, but lookout is gone. For all of you who miss lookout, there is a tool very similiar to lookout. It is called lookeen (www.lookeen.net). When you liked lookout, I am pretty sure you like lookeen as well.
Posted by dirk100 (5 comments )
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