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Microsoft Buys Productivity App Maker Mobile Data Labs

Microsoft on Thursday announced its acquisition of Mobile Data Labs Inc., a provider of mobile mileage-tracking solutions based in San Francisco.

The Mobile Data Labs team will continue to work on mobile productivity solutions following Microsoft's acquisition, according to a blog post by CEO Chuck Dietrich. It wasn't clear from the blog post whether Mobile Data Labs' core MileIQ products would be continued or not.

Mobile Data Labs claims that its MileIQ apps will automatically log mileage without pressing buttons on a device. Trip information is automatically saved using a cloud-based storage system and the data that's saved can pass IRS tax audits, the company claims. The apps are designed for mobile workers that need to track mileage for business expenses or for tax deductions.

The fate of the MileIQ apps, as well as the financial terms of the deal, wasn't explained. Microsoft lately has been purchasing app startup companies to enhance its mobile applications, particularly Microsoft Outlook apps.

This sale is the second one presided over by Dietrich, who previously sold a startup company called SlideRocket to VMware. Dietrich also formerly served as vice president and general manager at CRM software maker Salesforce.com.

Microsoft's announcement also was vague about the acquisition details. Rajesh Ja, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Outlook and Office 365, indicated in a blog post that the Mobile Data Labs team would "continue to build and offer mobile productivity solutions and look to take advantage of insights from Office 365 and the Office Graph."

The Office Graph, based on Microsoft's FAST enterprise search solution, is Microsoft's building block for surfacing social networking information across various Office 365 products.

MileIQ uses sensors in mobile devices to track so-called "ambient data intelligence" in calculating mileage. Mobile Data Labs claims to have "more than a million" Android users of MileIQ in the U.S. market alone. The MileIQ service is free for 40 drives per month. Unlimited mileage plans costs $5.99 per month.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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