Microsoft looking to Fast for scale, Web search help

Microsoft looking to Fast for scale, Web search help

Summary: 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.

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TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft
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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?

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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6 comments
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  • Value Add?

    The perceived dichotomy between 'financial problems' and Microsoft's buying FAST is balanced by a sound architecture, a solid foreign presence and a growing adoption curve.

    At some point, a solid offering can struggle with growth and/or broadening a core competency. In such a case, Microsoft can see the potential to overcome such challenges with their strengths in infrastructure, distribution, sales, and hard cold capital.
    Rotkapchen
  • RE: Microsoft looking to Fast for scale, Web search help

    Microsoft "inovation" at its best. When it can't walk the walk, it just buys the walker.
    Hemlock Stones
  • RE: Microsoft looking to Fast for scale, Web search help

    I think both will gain from each other. FAST search with its high end class A search technology will provide its expertise to work for the MSN and Intranet search. Microsoft has long been known for developing user friendly and developer friendly applications/tools, which will add value to FAST current technology.

    According to Gartner Magic Quadrant Report, FAST lacks a low end/inexpensive versions of their enterprise search which something that can be offered through Microsoft-FAST acquisition

    Microsoft is acquiring not just FAST technology but also a long list of customer references that include FAST as well as CONVERA which was acquired by FAST in 2007. This will give Microsoft a FAST Track into this market and will inject a lot of cash to improve search technology and information access market in general. This should lead to less expensive quality search solution
    mkholief@...
  • Not so Fast on Convera .....

    According to M Fool, Convera agreed to sell its RetrievalWare enterprise search business to Fast Search & Transfer for $23 million ....Convera remains a stand alone Co ....

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2007/09/13/convera-searches-for-a-business-model.aspx

    :)

    LC
    LookingConfident
    • RE:Not so Fast on Convera .....

      Ya you are right, i meant RetrievalWare enterprise search not CONVERA!

      Thanks
      mkholief@...
  • RE: Microsoft looking to Fast for scale, Web search help

    Great blog. This is a very interesting story to follow... I've written about this and quoted and linked to you on www.IntranetBlog.com (http://intranetblog.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2008/1/9/3456869.html).

    Regards, Toby Ward
    toby@...