Microsoft Grabs Fast Search for USD 1.2 bn

The Redmond-based company has purchased Norwegian firm Fast Search & Transfer for a cool USD 1.23 bln in a bid to vastly increase its offerings in the entreprise search segment.

FST's search engine is specifically designed for large companies - like Reuters, the U.S. Army, Fidelity Investments and America Online - which use it to probe huge amount of information

Fast also sells its products via third parties like storage giants Hitachi Data Systems, Commvault, LexisNexis and WebEx.

Prior to the purchase, FST had looked into moving in online-advertising and has had an online present through which at its peak back in 2003 was in the top 200 most visited websites in the world.

Alltheweb was then sold to Overture services as FST refocused on entreprise search. Overture was then purchased by Yahoo and the search engine continues to live here.

Microsoft's entreprise search range is currently made up of the free to use Search Server 2008 express, Search Server 2008 and Office Sharepoint Server 2007.

Google has also moved in this sector with its onsite Google Appliance which can scale all the way up to 30 million documents.

The acquisition by Microsoft is likely to start a new wave of acquisitions as the big companies like Oracle and IBM start to zero in on much smaller specialists like Autonomy and Endeca.