Microsoft had acquired Colloquis, a privately held company that helps other companies automatically answer customers' online questions, an Associated Press report said.
The Associated Press report said Microsoft and New York-based Colloquis did not disclose financial terms of the sale.
Microsoft said it would hire all 36 of Colloquis's employees, the report said.
Michael O'Hara, general manager with Microsoft's communications sector, said the deal was part of Microsoft's effort to add more Web-based services to its portfolio of products, the report said.
Microsoft's main cash cows, Windows and Office, rely mainly on the traditional method of selling software that people install in their desktop computers, the report said.
Microsoft said it planned to rename Colloquis's product Windows Live Service Agent, the report further said.The software maker also plans to initially use the system for people seeking help with Microsoft's Xbox video game console and services, and later for other Microsoft products.