Ex-Microsoft workers hit the data mines

SEATTLE (AP) – A group of former Microsoft Copr. Workers, headed by one of the company’s top researchers, have formed a company to provide “data mining” services to small and mid-size electronic commerce businesses.

Usama Fayyad, the president and chief executive of digiMine Inc., said Monday he already has customers lined up for his company’s data mining and data warehousing products, though he would not provide specifics.

Data mining allows businesses to take their databases of Web site and customer information and create highly detailed reports on usage and trends, and then make predictions based on those reports.

For example, data mining allows a site that sells books to find out if people in any given region of the country are buying similar books, or if people in a certain age group are clicking on certain parts of the Web page.

“The biggest problem for smaller e-commerce sites is that data mining is very expensive, and you need to assign staff full time to any in-house projects,” Fayyad said. “Instead of doing that, we’re letting customers subscribe to our services, and we’ll do the work for them.”

digiMine’s new software can plumb customers’ data, spotting whatever trends or doing any analysis as needed. Customers can access the “mined” data from their own computers via the Internet. digiMine will store its software – and can store customers’ data – on its own computers.

Before starting the company last month, Fayyad was a senior researcher with Microsoft Research, where he headed the company’s data project.

Nick Besbeas, digiMine’s co-founder and executive vice president, was a marketing manager for Microsoft, while Bassel Ojjeh, the company’s chief operating officer, managed the Internet Business Server division at Microsoft.

The company’s investors include former Starwave chief executive Mike Slade, former Microsoft executive Pete Higgins and Nick Hanauer, chairman of Avenue A Media.



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