February 4, 2015

Microsoft acquires document-sorting firm Equivio

As the default word processing, spreadsheet and presentation suite for most technology users, Microsoft Office is, in some respects, in a game with itself. Updates affect a multitude of industries, companies and individuals who use the software at home, and Microsoft continues to enhance its offerings. One of the latest Microsoft acquisitions, Equivio, is a company that provides software solutions to help firms sort legal documents, a set of functions that might find their way into the Microsoft Office line. 

The terms of the merger were not disclosed, but a company as massive as Microsoft oversees scores of mergers and acquisitions as a method of growth and industry dominance. For many small tech firms with a clearly defined but narrow niche of service, acquisition by a company like Apple, Microsoft or any number of web giants is a sought-after ticket. 

"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, according to TechCrunch. "Traditional techniques for finding relevant documents are falling behind as the growth of data outpaces peoples' ability to manually process it."

Sorting is one of the most important features of computing. Every day, professionals search through data sets to find the right information, so enhancing their ability to find the right documents faster is a perennial goal for software developers. Equivio has done contract work for the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, Deloitte and hundreds of other organizations, according to the Washington Post. As it enters the Microsoft family, it's yet to be seen exactly how its expertise will be integrated into user experiences for millions of Microsoft product owners.