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Microsoft Searches for Enterprise Advantage

Norway has always been a country of searchers: Edvard Munch searching in his expressionist art for some outlet for his anxiety, energy companies searching for oil in Norway's fossil-rich waters, Henrik Ibsen searching for hidden truth in the rigid morals of Victorian society...

Oh, you thought this newsletter was all football references and pop-culture quotes, didn't you? Well, think again -- we have patches on the sleeves of our tweed jackets today. And note that somehow a site dedicated to the art of Munch has a link labeled "Fun Stuff." Yes, Munch is always a lot of...fun. You have to love the Internet.

Anyway, just as Norwegians have always searched for...something, Microsoft is making a pilgrimage to Oslo in search of...well, search. Redmond is planning to splash out $1.2 billion on Fast Search & Transfer, a provider of enterprise search based in the capital of Norway.

Long a laggard behind Google and Yahoo in consumer search, Microsoft actually has a shot at making an impact among enterprise info seekers. After all, most companies already have a huge investment in Microsoft infrastructure, anyway, so why not offer a (hopefully) pre-integrated Microsoft enterprise-search tool to set on top of the whole thing? It makes sense, at least on the surface -- and Redmond is hoping that Fast will provide a more robust platform for developers creating enterprise-search functionality.

Normally, $1.2 billion would be an eyebrow-raising sum, but with Microsoft having raked in about $50 billion in its last fiscal year alone, it's not much more than lunch money for Redmond. And given that enterprise search seems a more open, accessible market than its consumer cousin at the moment, it might just be money well-spent in search (see, everything ties back to the beginning) of market share.

Do you have any experience with Microsoft enterprise search tools? What's your take on the market? Shoot me your views at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on January 09, 2008 at 11:54 AM


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