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Microsoft extends into online service with Colloquis buy

Microsoft has purchased Colloquis, a provider of natural language search and online service technology. It will augment Windows Live Service Agents.

Microsoft today purchased Colloquis Inc. and its automated customer service technology.

New York-based Colloquis makes a self-service tool that answers customer questions with a natural language processing technology. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft will offer services based on Colloquis technology to online businesses as well as incorporating it into its own applications. It will begin by offering a managed service called Windows Live Service Agents, a hosted customer service application, based on Colloquis technology. It will augment Microsoft's Customer Care Framework (CCF) contact center application.

"Microsoft is focused on providing solutions such as CCF that will allow our customers to create a positive customer service experience regardless of the channel, be it phone, e-mail or the Web," Maria Martinez, corporate vice president for the Communications Sector at Microsoft, said in a statement. "With the addition of Windows Live Service Agents to our portfolio, businesses can simplify access to information, streamline issue resolution, minimize support costs and improve customer satisfaction."

Within Microsoft, the first group to use the new product will be the Xbox organization, which will provide answers to commonly asked questions for online customers.

Colloquis customers include Cingular Wireless, Comcast, Vonage and Panasonic Corp. of North America.

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