Beyond supplementing Microsoft's SharePoint technology, what will Fast Search & Transfer, Microsoft's latest acquisition target, contribute to Microsoft's search products and strategy?
Microsoft and Fast shared a few more tidbits about potential areas of cooperation during a conference call with press and analysts on January 8.
Microsoft is looking to enterprise-search experts at Fast to help Microsoft scale into "very high volume" queries involving billions, not just millions, of sources, said Jeff Raikes, Microsoft President of Business Systems. Fast also has a "more sophisticated" and granular development platform from which Microsoft will benefit, in terms of honing domain-specific Intranet and Internet searches, Raikes told press and analysts.
Additionally, Microsoft will be lookign to Fast for help with Web search. Raikes declined to get specific about exactly how Fast's technology will dovetail/complement Microsoft's Live Search, claiming that the proposed merger still needs to pass regulatory scrutiny.
(Help can't come a moment too soon on the Web search front, as Microsoft continues to lose share to Google, at least according to new data released by Hitwise on January 8. Microsoft dropped from 9.8 percent of Web searches to just over 7 percent in December 2007, Hitwise is reporting.)
Although Fast has a solid customer and partner list, some market watchers are questioning why Microsoft paid $1.2 billion for a company that is in financial distress. (Fast may end up restating its 2006 and 2007 financial results, and three of its board members resigned at the end of last year).
What's your take? Will Fast give Microsoft some fast help in the Intranet/Internet search arena? Or did Microsoft move too hastily and spend too much for what it got?