Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Microsoft to buy Fast Search for $1.2 billion

Microsoft's proposed $1.2 billion acquisition of search engine developer Fast Search and Transfer (FAST) should benefit the storage companies that partner with FAST, while enabling Microsoft to compete with Google in enterprise search, according to analysts.

FAST's OEM partners include Arkivio Inc., Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), CA Inc., EMC Corp., CommVault Systems Inc., Mimosa Systems Inc. and Permabit Inc. These storage vendors rely on FAST to provide search capabilities for their archive and e-discovery products.

Microsoft officials said FAST will be added to SharePoint Server, but didn't give any other details about what's planned for the search engine. Analyst Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group said if Microsoft integrates search and indexing into applications, such as Exchange, it could take some of the data management burden out of the hands of storage administrators. It would also keep archiving vendors from having to build search engines.

"Archiving is a lot more than search," Taneja said. "That's why most of the archiving and e-discovery companies today get this IP from FAST in the first place -- it's not core to their business."

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