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Microsoft is continuing its rounds of the software singles scene after Yahoo!'s rejection of its overtures.

The software giant is close to buying Silicon Valley semantic search engine company Powerset for around $100m, according to a report.

VentureBeat speculates the acquisition deal will be announced next month.

If the rumour proves to be correct than it could give Microsoft a modest leg-up in the search engine biz – especially in light of the fact that swooping in on Yahoo!’s online assets is now but a distant dream for Steve Ballmer and co. Or is it?

San Francisco-based Powerset, which according to VentureBeat has been valued at $42.5m, likes to describe itself as the “first truly robust semantic index of the web” and hopes one day to convince the world that its technology is better than Google’s ubiquitous internet search abilities.

In 2006 the start-up, whose consumer search engine is based on natural language processing technology licensed from PARC, raised $12.5m in Series A funding from Foundation Capital, Founders Fund, and angel investors.

El Reg asked Microsoft if it could confirm the rumours, but the software giant had not responded to us at time of writing.

In related acquisition news, Microsoft yesterday announced that it plans to buy mobile software developer MobiComp. Financial terms of the deal were kept secret.

Braga, Portugal-based MobiComp specialises in mobile data protection and mobile posting of Web 2.0 content for the likes of Facebook et al.

Microsoft said the company's mobile platform will extend the capabilities of Windows Mobile and Windows Live. ®

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