Fast Times at Redmond High
Well, Microsoft is certainly in a generous mood these days, isn’t it. This morning the software giant said it has offered $1.2 billion for enterprise search outfit Fast Search & Transfer, a bid that represents a 42% premium over the company’s share price.
Why would Microsoft pay so much for a venture that’s expected to post a $130 million loss in 2007? “Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly,” said Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes. “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.”
Which translates loosely as “Google.”
“Google maintains a strong presence in the market with its appliance-based offering, and in late 2006 IBM announced a partnership with Yahoo to offer Omnifind enterprise search capabilities to business customers,” said Technology Business Review analyst Allan Kran. “Furthermore, TBR believes the enterprise search market is a logical extension for a number of companies providing data management solutions, including EMC and Oracle. As the volumes of unstructured data within organizations continue to grow, TBR expects additional focus will be paid to improving the accuracy and efficiency of enterprise search tools.”