Microsoft Getting Into Search-Engine Business

Rhett Pardon
REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. said Friday it would launch a pair of new Internet search services later this year.

Microsoft, which conceded Thursday it made a mistake when it chose to form partnerships with competitors rather than develop its own search technology, said it will launch MSN Newsbot, which gathers news from thousands of news sites, and MSN Blogbot, which can search web logs, or personal web pages.

MSN spokesman Yusuf Mehdi told Dow Jones Newswires that the software giant is also working on technology called MSN Answerbot, which would let web surfers type questions rather than search terms and get natural language answers. Mehdi did not reveal a release date.

Microsoft made the announcement at a meeting of online advertisers hosted by the software giant.

Ask Jeeves Inc. was an early pioneer in natural-language queries. Microsoft rivals Google and Yahoo already have news search services.