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Microsoft Partners With Wolfram Alpha To Take On Google?

Microsoft has apparently struck a secret partnership with geeky, upmarket, data-focused search engine whizz kid, Wolfram Alpha, to include the latter's content in Bing's search engine results pages.

According to Erick Schonfeld of Techcrunch (opens in new tab), Wolfram Alpha has "finally struck a deal with Bing to license some of its data" according to sources close to the matter, something that happened during the summer.

The decision by Wolfram Alpha to partner with Microsoft appears to be a wise one as it will allow the geek search engine to get significantly more exposure than it currently does. Interest in Wolfram Alpha has died rapidly after the initial buzz.

In May, "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram Alpha briefly made it to the top 100 websites worldwide before its ranking rapidly declined and the site remained stuck in the top 5000 websites globally (based on Alexa's rating (opens in new tab)). Still, this is significantly better than another high profile wannabe that didn't go that far, Cuil.com.

Wolfram Alpha's forte has always been the ability to manipulate scientific data and huge sets of figures better than anything else on the web. Data sets for example, can be presented as charts, tables, graphs and diagrams and could potentially be integrated, not only in Bing, but also in Microsoft Office for example.

As for Bing, Wolfram Alpha could help it improve its share in the search market. It currently had 9.4 percent of the US market in July, a 12 percent rise from the month of June when it reached 8.2 percent. Neither Bing nor Microsoft have commented on the rumoured tie-up.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.