Acquisition Adds RSS Feeds to Windows Live Toolbar

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has purchased Cambridge, Mass.-based Onfolio and has incorporated its end-user information collection tool as an add-in to its Windows Live Toolbar.

The add-in, known as the Onfolio Add-in for the Windows Live Toolbar, was previously sold separately, but now is free. Users who have downloaded the Onfolio add-in from Onfolio’s site in the past 90 days will receive a refund, except for users of the academic and scientific version, Onfolio said in a statement on its site.

The announcement of the acquisition and the commencement of the toolbar beta test came on the same day that Microsoft also released a beta of its Windows Live Search engine. Both Search and Toolbar entered beta test this week, as did the add-in.

Onfolio’s founder, J.J. Allaire, and his staff will move to Redmond as part of the deal as well. Allaire, who was chairman and CEO of Onfolio, previously founded Allaire Corp. and created the ColdFusion Web application development tool, purchased by Macromedia.

This is the second time in the past year that Microsoft has lured a high-profile tech entrepreneur from the Boston area. Last March, the company announced it has bought Groove Networks and hired its founder – Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie, who is now Microsoft’s Chief Technical Officer.

Among other capabilities, the Windows Live Toolbar lets users search from any Web page using Windows Live Search, and enables them to save, collect and share part of or a full Web page of the information they discover while searching the Web, according to Microsoft. It also features RSS detection and automatic aggregation to the user’s personalized home page.

Onfolio 1.0 and 2.0 will continue to be useable, according to statements on Onfolio’s site. However, those products will no longer be updated. A feature-by-feature comparison chart on Onfolio’s site shows where the add-in differs from the Onfolio products is available here.

Microsoft’s download site for the Windows Live Toolbar is here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.