Microsoft is buying Intentional Software, a small company founded 15 years ago by Microsoft veteran Charles Simonyi.
Simonyi helped build Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet and Word document franchises. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to a blog post by Microsoft executive vice president Rajesh Jha, Intentional started out in 2002 to make software programming simpler. But the company shifted in recent years to apply what it’s learned about programming to “develop productivity scenarios for the future workforce.”
There were no details about what those scenarios might be, but one could guess that Microsoft (MSFT)—which came up in a heavily PC-centric world where it reigned supreme but was then dinged by its late entry into mobile—doesn’t want to get caught off guard again.
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As described in a 2007 New York Times report, Simonyi’s goal with the new company was to replace conventional coding with what he called intentional programming, “in which programmers would talk to machines as little as possible. Instead, they would concentrate on capturing the intentions of computer users.”
Microsoft has made some blockbuster acquisitions, most recently its $26.2 billion buy of professional social network LinkedIn. It has also made more focused purchases to boost its key productivity applications portfolio. Last year, for example, Microsoft bought SwiftKey, which helps users type faster on iOS or Android smartphones by predicting what they want to say.