It’s been a very exciting last few months for both Microsoft and our customers in the enterprise search space. In November, Jon Kauffman provided some insight into our Search Server Express product and its importance to companies that are looking for entry level solutions.  Today, I’m excited to write about another important milestone as we announced that we will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer, one of the premier companies in the enterprise search market.  

Let me first tell you a little about FAST.  They are headquartered in Oslo and have operations worldwide. Their people are fantastic and not only have a great customer focus, but also bring tremendous expertise in the category – more than 60% of their people are engineers and close to 50 of them have PhDs in relevant fields.  Customers like Best Buy and CareerBuilder.com have deployed FAST’s solution, driving business results through advanced capabilities that can detect the context and intent of a query, perform complex query refinements, and enable dynamic query-driven navigation—all securely and at incredible scale.

So why are we doing this?  Ultimately, the combination of Microsoft and FAST eliminates the need for customers to compromise.  In enterprise search to date, organizations have basically been forced to choose between high-end, specialized products and more mainstream, infrastructure solutions-- but not anymore.  The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice—a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of enterprise search needs. 

This is a sizable deal, and we are taking this exciting step because we envision enterprise search becoming a fundamental capability in every organization’s productivity infrastructure.  We believe enterprise search will be for workers tomorrow what internet search is for consumers today – an indispensible tool that is central to how they find and use information. 

I look forward to keeping you posted as this truly exciting story unfolds.

Kirk Koenigsbauer
General Manager,
SharePoint Business Group