Microsoft's MSN has bought search technology firm Lookout Software, an acquisition which it said would add technology and expertise to its "future search efforts".
Lookout currently provides the personal search tool for Outlook 2003, which searches email, files and desktop data within the email client.
Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN, said in a statement: "Our vision is to take search beyond today's basic internet search services to deliver direct answers to people's questions, and help them find information from a broad range of sources."
As part of the acquisition, Lookout founder and software developer Mike Belshe will become a full-time employee of the MSN Search team.
Founder and software developer Eric Hahn will work closely with the MSN Search team during the transition of Lookout to Microsoft.
MSN said the acquisition is the latest in a series of moves to improve the website's functionality, including changes to MSN Search that it claims will increase the relevancy of results by up to 45 per cent.
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