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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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.