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Originally published Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Microsoft buys health Web site

Microsoft made its first foray Monday into the growing consumer health-care market with its acquisition of Medstory, a closely held company...

NEW YORK — Microsoft made its first foray Monday into the growing consumer health-care market with its acquisition of Medstory, a closely held company that is developing an Internet search engine for health information.

Microsoft didn't reveal the purchase price. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer made the announcement of the acquisition during his keynote at the Health Information and Management Systems Society Conference in New Orleans on Monday.

He also announced The Connected Health Framework Architecture and Design Blueprint, the first in a series of guidance documents and tools Microsoft has created for health-care providers.

The decision by Microsoft to enter the consumer health-care market and participate more fully in the overall industry is part of a bigger strategy to diversify from its core product lines of Windows and Office, which make up 90 percent of its earnings, but are maturing markets with lower growth potential.

Microsoft has said that to spark more growth, it needs to enter markets that will expand substantially.

Earlier this month, Ballmer noted that consumer health care is an area where the company would be making coming announcements.

Medstory, a closely held startup in Foster City, Calif., runs a free search site that provides results from the Web and from select health and medical sources. It has 10 employees.

Microsoft stock rose 17 cents to $29.07 Monday.

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