Microsoft confirms it has signed an agreement to acquire Genee, an artificial intelligence-powered scheduling service. The Redmond-based technology company reveals its plans to integrate the productivity app on Office 365.
In a blogpost earlier this week, Microsoft corporate VP for Outlook and Office 365 Rajesh Jha divulged that along with the planned acquisition, Genee founders Charles Lee and Ben Cheung are also set to join Microsoft.
"We consider Microsoft to be the leader in personal and enterprise productivity, AI, and virtual assistant technologies, so we look forward to bringing our passion and expertise to a team that is committed to delivering cutting-edge language and intelligence services," Lee and Cheung commented on a future under Microsoft.
As part of the acquisition deal with Microsoft, Genee will shut down its services. Effective Sept. 1, Genee will cease to send agendas and useful reminders from users' calendars. Lee and Cheung noted that previous entries that Genee made will remain.
"The Genee team will take the valuable experiences and lessons that you taught us to Microsoft, where we'll continue to build amazing next generation intelligent experiences," the Genee founders added.
Details on how Microsoft plans to integrate Genee's capabilities into Office 365 are a bit scarce at the moment. Nonetheless, many expect that Genee's addition to the subscription-based Office suite will streamline and further refine the service experience, especially for setting up meetings.
Genee was released back in 2014, with the goal of automating appointment bookings and meeting scheduling. By accessing the user's calendar, Genee's AI can deduce the most suitable time for a meeting. It also gets better if parties that need to meet all use Genee since the AI can seamlessly compare individual calendars and come up with a time that's convenient for everyone involved. This eliminates the need to send emails for confirmation.
By breaking down the user's word commands, Genee can identify the meeting type, time, duration and location. Users can also use their personally curated presets for meetings. An address can be paired with the phrase "meet for coffee," which prompts to AI use the same address when the user asks to meet someone for coffee.
In the recent months, Genee's service has expanded rapidly, especially when reminders through SMS, email, Skype and common social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook were introduced. A huge part of this service should be credited to the AI's chat capabilities, which was first released for SMS and Twitter and was later introduced to Facebook and Skype.
Genee's acquisition did not come as a surprise for most since Microsoft has signed a number of acquisition agreements earlier this year. The list includes the $26 billion high-profile LinkedIn deal and Swiftkey, an intuitive smartphone keyboard.
Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr