Microsoft this week announced that it has acquired Equivio, a provider of machine learning technologies for e-Discovery and information governance.

Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president, Outlook and Office 365, said in a statement that Microsoft made the acquisition to help its customers "tackle the legal and compliance challenges inherent in managing large quantities of e-mail and documents."

Equivio’s solution applies machine learning to help solve these problems, enabling users to explore large, unstructured sets of data and quickly find what is relevant. It uses advanced text analytics to perform multi-dimensional analyses of data collections, intelligently sorting documents into themes, grouping near-duplicates, isolating unique data, and helping users quickly identify the documents they need. As part of this process, users train the system to identify documents relevant to a particular subject, such as a legal case or investigation. This iterative process is more accurate and cost effective than keyword searches and manual review of vast quantities of documents.

Microsoft Office 365 includes robust eDiscovery and information governance capabilities, "and we’ll use Equivio’s machine learning technology to make these vital tools even more intelligent and easy to use in the months ahead," said Jha.