Microsoft Buys Lookout for Outlook

Microsoft are focussing on providing search facilities for their customers – after their changes to MSN Search, they’ve acquired Lookout, a company that makes searching technology for Outlook.

Outlook is an impressive diary, email and contacts program, and those who use it generate huge amounts for data – though searching through mails, appointments and addresses for details and information was never its strong point.

Microsoft have not released any details of the deal, and will not say how Lookout will be integrated in their products, but they have said that they intend to use the acquisition to improve services.

Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN, said in a statement: “Our vision is to take search beyond today’s basic Internet search services to deliver direct answers to people’s questions, and help them find information from a broad range of sources.”

Having a fully featured internet search built into the operating system will be very convenient and this could be ominous news for Google who do not have the same potential for product integration that Microsoft have. Instead Google relies on visits to their portal, or on customers installing their tool bar.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?