Microsoft Plans Windows Live Agents

Microsoft is preparing to launch bots for Windows Live Messenger called Agents, with which users can interact and retrieve information. The service stems from an acquisition of Colloquis that the Redmond company announced Thursday.

Colloquis provides automated support to businesses that uses natural language processing to respond to customer requests. The company's Automated Service Agent service is currently employed by Cingular, Comcast, Cox, Time Warner and a number of other companies.

Microsoft will re-brand that Colloquis offering as Windows Live Service Agents, which will function as a Web-based application and augment the company's Microsoft Customer Care Framework. Xbox will be the first group at Microsoft to utilize Windows Live Service Agents as a support offering for gamers.

“Colloquis provides Microsoft with the tools and platform to build conversational capabilities into a wide array of applications that enable businesses to facilitate a simple and rewarding online experience for their end users," remarked Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of the Online Services Group at Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Windows Live Agents for Messenger will offer a new avenue for interacting with the company's instant messaging users. The technology can be used for entertainment, searching and even advertising, Microsoft said. The company did not say when these Messenger bots would launch.

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