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Microsoft Gets in Trouble With The United States Over Bribery Charges

Earlier, Microsoft had faced allegations of bribery in other countries, including China.

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An advertisement is played on a set of large screens at the Microsoft office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S, VOA
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Authorities in the US are investigating Microsoft over its potential involvement in bribery in connection with sales of software such as Word and Excel in Hungary, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The investigation started after it was alleged that in 2013 and 2014, Microsoft sold certain software to government agencies in Hungary at near full price while it sold the same products to an intermediary at a steep discount, according to the report.

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The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating. Pixabay

The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether the intermediary used the difference to pay bribes and kickbacks to government officials, according to the report.

“As soon as we became aware in 2014 of potential wrongdoing in our Hungarian subsidiary, we moved quickly to pursue a detailed investigation and hold people accountable,” a Microsoft spokesman was quoted as saying by CNET.

Also Read: Video- Newly Developed Technology Might Be Helpful Saving Lives of Newborns in Africa

“We fired four employees and terminated our business with four partners, and we’ve been defending ourselves against legal claims they raised as a result,” the spokesman added.

Earlier, Microsoft had faced allegations of bribery in other countries, including China.(IANS)

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Microsoft To Acquire Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI

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Microsoft acquires conversational AI and bot development firm. Pixabay

Microsoft has announced to acquire a conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and bot development company XOXCO for an undisclosed sum.

Texas-based XOXCO has been paving the way in conversational AI since 2013 and was responsible for the creation of Howdy, the first commercially available bot for Slack that helps schedule meetings.

“It also developed Botkit which provides the development tools used by hundreds of thousands of developers on GitHub. Over the years, we have partnered with XOXCO and have been inspired by this work,” said Lili Cheng, Corporate Vice President, Conversational AI at Microsoft on Thursday.

Conversational AI is quickly becoming a way in which businesses engage with employees and customers — from creating virtual assistants and redesigning customer interactions to using conversational assistants to help employees communicate and work better together.

According to Gartner, “by 2020, conversational artificial intelligence will be a supported user experience for more than 50 percent of large, consumer-centric enterprises”.

The Microsoft Bot Framework, available as a service in Azure and on GitHub, today supports over 360,000 developers.

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A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

“With this acquisition, we are continuing to realise our approach of democratising AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate,” said Cheng.

Over the last six months, Microsoft has made several strategic acquisitions to accelerate the pace of AI development.

The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI.

In July, it acquired Bonsai to help reduce the barriers to AI development by combining machine teaching, reinforcement learning and simulation.

Also Read- YouTube Premium Service Expands to 7 New Countries

In September, Microsoft acquired Lobe, a company that has created a simple visual interface empowering anyone to develop and apply deep learning and AI models quickly, without writing code.

“The acquisition of GitHub in October demonstrates our belief in the power of communities to help fuel the next wave of bot development,” Microsoft said. (IANS)