Microsoft just acquired Lookout, a Outlook add on which gives users the ability to easily search email and Outlook related fiels, filling in a huge hole in the MS Outlook program.
Lookout’s product adds a search bar to Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail and organizer application, and it aids in searches of e-mail and files on a PC. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:
The acquisition of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Lookout Software LLC will bring new technology into Microsoft’s MSN Search initiative, the company said. In addition, one of Lookout Software’s founders will join Microsoft as an employee working on the MSN Search team. Microsoft declined to disclose the price it paid.
The purchase follows separate acquisitions made within the past week by Google and Yahoo!, Microsoft’s major competitors in the Internet and personal-computer search business. The flurry of deals demonstrates one way the companies are gearing up for what’s expected to be the next big Internet war.
Industry observers expect the wave of acquisitions to continue.
“You’ll see more of it,” predicted author and search expert John Battelle, comparing the situation to the formative years of the company’s Windows operating system, when software developers outside Microsoft would frequently come up with basic features and programs that computer users found useful. Microsoft would then build such features into Windows or buy the companies that developed them.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Lookout Software also reflects the fact that next-generation search engines are expected to focus on “unified search” — encompassing not only data from the World Wide Web but also other sources of information, such as files stored on a hard drive. Microsoft has said it is designing its MSN Search program as a single system to search across a variety of data types, including PCs, databases and corporate intranets.
Lookout’s software is an add-on to Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail program, working through a toolbar that lets users search quickly through their e-mails, contacts and calendar information. The Lookout program also can be used to search other parts of a PC.