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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

April 17, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Microsoft buying Seattle-based Farecast

Microsoft and Farecast are confirming the acquisition of the Seattle-based airfare prediction and travel site. A person familiar with the transaction said the purchase price was around $115 million.

They’re not talking much. Here’s a statement from Whitney Burk, spokeswoman with Microsoft’s Online Services business:

“We are pleased to announce that we have acquired Farecast, a Seattle-based smart travel search engine, and we welcome them to the Microsoft family. Farecast has been a partner of ours on MSN Travel and we look forward to working closely with the Farecast team to incorporate and apply its technology in new and interesting ways.”

The deal closed April 9 and all 27 Farecast employees will become Microsoft employees as part of the acquisition, Burk said.

Farecast was founded in late 2003 by Oren Etzioni, a computer science professor at University of Washington. The online service, launched in 2006, uses data mining technology to predict whether the price of specific air travel itineraries will rise or fall, and whether a currently listed hotel room rate is a good deal.

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