New BI Projects Take Root in Microsoft Greenhouse

Updated: "News to Me" and "Business Context Sniffer" are the latest two business intelligence initiatives that Microsoft is hoping to cultivate as commercial offerings. (Microsoft Watch)

Microsoft is incubating two new business-intelligence-focused projects inside its IW (Information Worker) Greenhouse.

The IW Greenhouse, which Microsoft launched in 2003, acts like an internal venture capital arm. The Greenhouse team builds prototypes of potential applications and technologies and then seeks wider, corporate backing and financing for these initiatives. Those that arent seen as viable are dropped.

The Greenhouse has produced a handful of projects to date. Of these, Ringcam is probably the best known. Microsoft has shown off Ringcam, a video-conferencing device that enables multiple parties to communicate over VOIP, in a variety of public forums, but the technology still has yet to be commercialized. The Greenhouse also has helped shepherd search and various Office and Internet Explorer extensions.

The Greenhouse team is working on a couple of new projects, according to internal company sources.

The first of these projects, known as News to Me, "is an adaptive and dynamic system which analyzes your documents, interactions and activities to automatically deliver timely and relevant information to you," according to a description of the project posted to a Microsoft blog.

Earlier this month, Microsoft removed the blog posting describing the two new IW projects.

"Because this is something they (the Greenhouse team) are currently working on, they are not ready comment on this at this time," said a Microsoft spokeswoman.

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