A few days ago I posted about Microsoft's failed attempt to buy Yahoo and the subsequent deal between Yahoo and Google. Now it's rumoured Microsoft has agreed to buy little known search engine Powerset for $100M, Powerset's actual value is less than half the rumoured offer, but reminds me of when Google bought YouTube which had never even made a profit.
Powerset is what is termed a "semantic" search engine, you ask it questions and it give you more intelligible results, supposedly. Powerset is currently operating in what I'd call beta mode, that is it's under development. It currently draws results from only two sites, one of which is Wikipedia, so who knows if it really works?
For $50M more than the going rate Microsoft obviously not only think it does, but think it can gain them more of a foothold in the Search Market. Personally Ask have already tried and failed in an attempt to provide a more intelligent search. Broad Search is the future of search, ideas of "Semantic" are rife on the web yet users don't necessarily understand what people actually mean web these this and other terms such as "web2.0".
The question is, is this the beginning of the Live fight back or does it smack of desperation? Desperation to me!