MSFT Buying FAST Search & Transfer

The WSJ is reporting that Microsoft is buying Oslo-based FAST (subject to shareholder approval). Fast provides “enterprise search” services and capabilities. What that really means is that the company does the search and back end for others who often provide consumer destinations or services. FAST typically competes with Endeca, Autonomy and a couple others.

From the Microsoft press release:

“Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs.”

In the local segment, FAST has had a wide range of clients including US and European yellow pages (e.g., YellowPages.com, Virgilio), newspaper sites (e.g., Washington Post, Financial Times) and stand-alone destinations like CareerBuilder. The company also has a mobile search business. In that latter category FAST has a partnership with the former InfoSpace mobile division, which was recently acquired by Motricity. In mobile, FAST-Motricity competes with Jumptap, Medio and MCN.

It’s likely that Microsoft is buying the company for its numerous B2B relationships and capabilities. It’s not clear to me from a technology standpoint, however, whether Microsoft acquires any new search capabilities or tools that will benefit its consumer business either on the desktop or in mobile. I would imagine, however, that’s likely part of the motivation to buy the company.

The deal is reportedly worth $1.2 billion.

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I forgot that FAST also has a PPC platform too. At first blush it would appear that Microsoft wouldn’t need the company. But I suspect there are a range of considerations that informed the decision: B2B/enterprise issues, mobile, PPC advertising and consumer search  capabilities.

One Response to “MSFT Buying FAST Search & Transfer”

  1. News Says:

    it is interesting , for me.
    “Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs.”
    what are we must have ?
    http://www.searchfinish.com

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