Microsoft buys start-up Genee to ride the AI wave

Microsoft has acquired digital assistant start-up Genee which will be incorporated into the larger Office 365 offering over the next couple of weeks.

The acquisition and incorporation is another example of artificial intelligence being incrementally brought into our day-to-day lives. The offering itself is a simple idea, but one which has the potential to save small minutes across the day which can prove to be stressful. Using natural language processing and optimized decision-making algorithms, Genee acts as a personal assistant to organize meetings with people inside or outside of an organization.

If an email is sent to an individual or group with ‘[email protected]’ cc’d in and a general description of the meeting (time, place and type of meeting etc.), Genee will organize the meeting on your behalf with a time/place which suits all involved. Genee also works via an iOS app, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, and Skype chat.

Are add on's such as Genee a useful additional to your working day or just a quirky gimmick?

  • Probably won't use it (50%, 16 Votes)
  • Not too sure how much time I will actually save (19%, 6 Votes)
  • Just a quirk (19%, 6 Votes)
  • Useful - will actually remove a frustrating part of my day (13%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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“With today’s news, I’m excited to welcome the Genee team to Microsoft,” said Rajesh Jha, CorporateVP of Outlook and Office 365. “As we continue to build new Office 365 productivity capabilities and service our customer’s value, I’m confident the Genee team will help us further our ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience.”

“We consider Microsoft to be the leader in personal and enterprise productivity, AI, and virtual assistant technologies, so we look forward to bringing our passion and expertise to a team that is committed to delivering cutting-edge language and intelligence services,” said Ben Cheung and Charles Lee, Genee Co-Founders.

Genee will be shut down as a separate team on September 1, with the time-saving features incorporated into the Office 365 package. This move may not come as a surprise to certain corners of the industry, as Microsoft continues its journey to dominate the enterprise IT world.

While Microsoft was a dominant feature of the 80’s and 90’s, the noughties saw it shrink back into the shadows with the decline of personal computing and a failed venture into the smartphone world. The cloud computing era has seen Microsoft rise again to the forefront of the technology industry with its Azure offering, artificial intelligence suite and play for social after the $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.

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