Well, it has been a while since I last posted – but for good reason. Aside from our usual day-to-day efforts to deliver great enterprise search solutions for our customers, we’ve also been feverishly working on the acquisition of FAST Search & Transfer that we originally announced on January 8. Today, I’m excited to share that the tender offer is complete!

As I mentioned in January, FAST has an incredibly talented team of folks who bring great customer focus and tremendous expertise in the category – more than 60% of their people are engineers and close to 50 of them have PhDs in relevant fields. One of their true visionaries, John Markus Lervik, who has been FAST CEO, will transition to become Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Search. John’s leadership will have an immediate impact on the development across our comprehensive portfolio of enterprise search offerings – including Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express , search for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and FAST ESP – and will result in the future delivery of a single enterprise search platform. I’m thrilled to welcome our new team members on board and am eager for them to get started!
 
By bringing together our two companies, customers will no longer have to compromise when evaluating the enterprise search solution that’s best for them. We can now meet all their needs no matter how basic or complex: Search Server Express available as a free download; SharePoint offers search integrated with other business productivity tools; and for those with highly sophisticated needs, FAST ESP provides best-in-class capabilities for the most demanding search applications in both internal and customer-facing scenarios. And, you can be assured that with our expanded team in place, we’ll be in an even better position to continue innovation across all three products, including FAST ESP on Linux and UNIX.

Speaking of Linux and UNIX, some people may be (mis)interpreting our continued support and investment in these platforms as a broader change for Microsoft – so here’s some color. We’re making a pragmatic decision to continue to delight a core part of FAST’s customer base that has chosen the Linux/UNIX OS. You can bet that we’ll innovate on Windows, too, and over time we hope customers will see .NET as a preferred platform choice.

Net, our approach doesn’t imply any kind of broader change for our company in its strategy (so conspiracy theorists can stand down :-)) and you shouldn’t expect to see SharePoint running on UNIX. We’re making a business decision for enterprise search and feel great about what it means for our FAST search customers.

Getting to this point has been quite a journey, but the most exciting part about it for me is that we are only just getting started. Whether it’s ensuring customers continue to get great service from the people and support teams they know or building on the span of our product portfolio, I’m confident that the combination of Microsoft and FAST will serve customers’ needs more broadly and help make enterprise search become a truly ubiquitous tool that is central to how workers find and use information.

I look forward to sharing more with you as the journey continues.

Kirk Koenigsbauer
General Manager
SharePoint Business Group