Microsoft has entered into a broad partnership with customer-service software provider 24/7 that the companies expect will yield a superior cloud-based platform that large companies can use to better address their customers' needs.
As part of the deal, 24/7 will get access to Microsoft's TellMe speech-recognition and interactive self-service software, which will get integrated into 24/7's Predictive Experience products, such as Px Online for Web self-service customer attention, the Px Speech voice-based customer service tool and Px Mobile for mobile-device-based support.
The companies will also do joint research and development focused on TellMe speech and natural language technology. 24/7 will integrate its products with Microsoft wares like Windows Phone, the Bing search engine and the Dynamics CRM applications.
Microsoft has also agreed to take an equity stake in 24/7. The companies have also entered into what they call a "shared technology road map" and long-term intellectual-property licensing agreement for speech-related technologies.
"We're combining these technologies and, most importantly, building a single, large-scale cloud services platform," said Zig Serafin, general manager of Microsoft's Online Services Division.
The companies are already working with customers like Avis and United Airlines to provide customer service software that lets them offer customer support across a variety of devices, like phones, websites and mobile devices, and basing it on an analysis of varied historical data collected and stored for each customer.
Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.