Microsoft Tweaks Its Toolbar With Onfolio Acquisition - InformationWeek
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3/8/2006
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Microsoft Tweaks Its Toolbar With Onfolio Acquisition

Microsoft has acquired Onfolio, whose add-in for the Windows Live Toolbar beta is expected to bolster Microsoft in its effort to catch up to Google.

Microsoft moved to improve its search offerings Tuesday by acquiring Onfolio Inc., a small Massachusetts company that will henceforth occupy a big place in Microsoft's Windows Live Toolbar.

The move to acquire the six-person company will bolster Microsoft in its effort to catch up with search pacesetter Google.

Onfolio has been offered to users of both Microsoft Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, although Onfolio's new version available this week won't be offered to Firefox users any longer, according to published reports.

"The new Onfolio Add-in for the Windows Live Toolbar beta will give people convenient ways to collect information online and organize it on their PCs," the Microsoft announcement stated. "People can harness this information by saving it onto their computer so that it can be easily accessed for use in documents, e-mail messages, and blog postings." The Onfolio add-in also has RSS aggregator and reader capability.

Onfolio was founded by J.J. Allaire, who along with his brother Jeremy Allaire, founded Web development tools company, Allaire Corp. The latter company was sold to Macromedia for $360 million in 2001 and the two brothers each started his own firm in Cambridge. Jeremy Allaire's new firm, Brightcove, develops products and services for the Internet TV market.

Onfolio will move its offices to Redmond, Wash. in an action that calls for another Massachusetts company to leave the Bay State. Last year, Microsoft acquired Groove Networks and named Groove's former chief Ray Ozzie to be Microsoft's chief technical officer.

At the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference Tuesday, Ozzie endorsed the idea of users being able to share data across different Web sites in a demonstration that seemed to touch on the new Onfolio approach.

In the past, Onfolio's Onfolio 2.0 has been available for use not only with Explorer and Firefox, but also with other browsers such as Netscape and Opera, by accessing the Onfolio Deskbar through the Windows Start menu. Its future with non-Microsoft products is now unclear.

The Onfolio add-in gives users the capability of organizing and annotating their Web research with several markers including notes, flags, keywords, and highlighting. "Onfolio's core competency is providing users with the tools to enable them to save, collect, and share that information as they conduct research on the Internet," said JJ Allaire in a statement.

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