Microsoft has been doing some interesting things lately, besides issuing its developer previews of Windows 10 (no one knows what happened to Windows 9…) in the business world, not least of which is their acquisition of the Israeli based company Equivio. And as this Texan technology marketer informs us online, the mainstream press has no idea what implications will follow Microsoft’s acquisition. The Wall Street Journal called Equivio an “Israel-based text analysis startup company,” but merger and acquisition attorneys in San Antonio immersed in the tech world know different—Equivio’s predictive coding software began as an idea more than 15 years ago (hardly a startup), and the fact that Microsoft has offered $200 million for it gives us a clue that it’s kind of a big deal.
Because while the “general business world” views the acquisition deal as just another technology merger that promises to do fancy stuff with our text and make us smarter—let’s be honest, isn’t that most of our views regarding technology we don’t understand?—those immersed in the industry concerned with combining talents of Law, IT and Science like tech-interested merger and acquisition attorneys in San Antonio know better. “There is so much more to predictive coding than meets the eye of the average business journalist, most of whom have never even heard of the term.”
Okay, so what is it, why is it important and why did Microsoft pay big bucks to buy out the company that does it? Partly, it’s text analysis software that groups together relevant texts from large amounts of documents like emails “and other organizational social and collaboration networks using machine learning algorithms,” letting companies sort through massive amounts of textual data and pull out themes and threads on relevant topics quickly. And while merger and acquisition attorneys in San Antonio like Micah McBride may be familiar with how Equivio helps IT litigators prepare for their arguments in the courtroom, it could have more impact on the general public, now that it’s in Microsoft’s hands.
While it’s unclear exactly what Microsoft’s plans for it are, (365? Bing? Something new?) the kind of complex data analysis the Equivio software can provide could be a windfall to researchers combing through stacks of publications page by page, or think-tank communities looking for more “robust capabilities” in their analysis of policies or marketplaces. But the big one? McBride and other clever merger and acquisition attorneys in San Antonio and other cities will know that Equivio’s ability to do large-scale data management through analytics sounds strikingly familiar. Like kind of almost exactly what Google does.
Does Microsoft see itself as Google’s next competitor? Advanced data analytics aren’t just good for small businesses, small law firms and individuals to complete their small-scale projects. Equivio’s capacities are huge, and now that they’re partnered with Microsoft’s power and nearly endless funding, there may be no limits to what the software is capable of, in terms of the information government arena and the tech market. Could Google finally be seeing some worthy competition soon?