Based on news that IBM has been working on data storage software designed to greatly improve the ability of companies to find business documents scattered across their networks, Big Blue apparently has designs on entering and winning the hotly contested market for information search and retrieval. EMC and Veritas have long had their paws all over infrastructure-based search and retrieval and Google and Yahoo have upped the ante with their desktop search technologies. It's unlikely that either will stop there. To really hit paydirt, both may have to stretch their tentacles into business networks. Meanwhile, Apple has been testing its entry (Spotlight), and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), under the direction of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has a similar information-discovery technology known as the Semantic Web on tap.
The intensified battle is applying significant pressure on Microsoft which, in the context of its forthcoming WinFS technology, has been discussing the need to improve the way in which users find mission critical information. Based on Microsoft's SQL Server technology, WinFS has long promised to provide a sort of taxonomy-driven connective tissue for relating bits of data from