Microsoft acquires Equivio

Office365 is set to offer enhanced e-discovery and information governance capabilities with the addition of machine learning technology from US startup Equivio, following its acquisition by Microsoft for an undisclosed sum.

The Israeli company says its clients include the United States Justice Department and auditing and consulting giants KPMG and Deloitte

Rajesh Jha, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Outlook and Office 365, said in a blog post, “We are making this acquisition to help our customers tackle the legal and compliance challenges inherent in managing large quantities of email and documents.

“Traditional techniques for finding relevant documents are falling behind as the growth of data outpaces peoples’ ability to manually process it.”

Equivio’s algorithms sift through documents and emails to group related documents and identify which ones might trigger a company's confidentiality provisions. As part of this process, users train the system to identify documents relevant to a particular subject, such as a legal case or investigation. This iterative process is more accurate and cost effective than keyword searches and manual review of vast quantities of documents. 

Competitor Nuix has targeted concerns that that Microsoft may discontinue the product after finalizing its acquisition of the company.

It notes comments from David Horrigan, Analyst and Counsel at 451 Research, who wrote that “Microsoft did not disclose whether Equivio would continue to operate,” only that it would embed the newly acquired technology into Office 365.  He noted that “Equivio’s entire operation is a mere blip on Microsoft’s $US86bn radar” and speculated that running a legal technology company could be “more of a nuisance than it’s worth.”