Microsoft has paid $6 million to invest in General Magic and license technology from the company, which allows mobile professionals to remotely control email, faxes, organiser software and information using their voices or a Web browser.
Microsoft has paid to use General Magic?s virtual assistant technology - code-named Serengeti and due for completion in mid-1998 - in its Outlook organiser software. It will also make an unquantified minority investment in the firm. General Magic also agreed to base the operations centre which will service Serengeti users on Microsoft Windows NT.
Nathan Myhrvold, chief technology officer at Microsoft, said Serengeti?s simple method of providing people with worldwide access to their information is important. "A natural language voice user interface such as Serengeti?s is a powerful and flexible way to access information that we think will be pervasive," he said.
Serengeti will also work with Microsoft?s Internet Explorer, Web TV and devices based on Windows CE, the companies said. Steve Markman, chief executive of General Magic, claimed the deal shows that his company's ideas are being accepted in the industry.
General Magic was founded in 1995 by a group of former Apple employees. 'VNU Newswire' reported in October 1996 that the company made a whopping $12.4 million loss in its Q3 of that year, after its business plan suffered because of the rise of the Internet. The loss forced the company to lay off a third of its 280 staff and its losses continued in 1997.
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