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Microsoft To Buy Intentional Software

Microsoft announced today that it plans to acquire Intentional Software.

Intentional Software was founded in 2002 by Microsoft luminary Charles Simonyi, who had overseen the early development of the Microsoft Excel and Word applications using the nascent graphical user interface back in the 1990s. Simonyi is also noted for being a space tourist twice.

Simonyi had contributed patented technologies on intentional programming concepts at Microsoft Research, which were later developed at Intentional Software. Intentional programming is described as an improvement to the software development process by defining terms within an integrated development environment. The idea is depicted in this dated video.

Intentional Software's current description, though, describes the company as focused on "reinventing productivity software," particularly for teams. The Bellevue, Wash.-based company has about 51 to 200 employees according to its LinkedIn listing.

The terms of the deal weren't described. The team at Intentional Software will join Microsoft as part of the Office Product Group, according to a Microsoft spokesperson. Simonyi will serve as a Technical Fellow at Microsoft, reporting to Rajesh Jha, executive vice president at the Microsoft Office Product Group, the spokesperson added.

In an announcement, Jha characterized the acquisition as bringing additional talent to Microsoft's productivity applications work:

This acquisition will build on the work we're already doing to deliver the tools necessary to be productive in an information-rich world. Intentional Software's technology and talent will enhance our existing capabilities and strengthen our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft’s robust productivity offering. We're excited about the company's work on productivity applications, especially given our focus of putting people at the center of experiences and our continued effort to reimagine collaboration.

According to Jha's account, Intentional Software had initially been geared toward simplifying the programming process. In the last few years, it switched its focus more toward developing "productivity scenarios for the future workforce," he explained.

Simonyi said he was excited to join Microsoft again. He highlighted Microsoft's more recent technology developments, including its data interaction technologies via touch and pen, the Surface Hub and Surface Book hardware, plus Microsoft's machine-learning technologies. He added that the semantics behind Web services has been getting more precise. These technology developments can all serve as an "ontology" to be exploited, he added.

Eric Anderson, Intentional Software's CEO, indicated that the deal "provides an exceptional opportunity for Intentional's technology to reach knowledge workers everywhere."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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