Microsoft’s ‘Fast’ and furious €1.5bn search plan

28 Apr 2008

Microsoft has completed a US$1.5bn takeover of a Norwegian search and business intelligence firm to expand on its enterprise search strategy.

Oslo-based Fast Search & Transfer ASA offers enterprises efficient indexing of vast quantities of searchable content, including speech recognition.

The company is amongst a number of major internet firms – including Google, MySpace, Facebook and Yahoo! – being sued by a technology firm represented by PA Advisors LLC, alleging the companies stole its technology.

Microsoft made the US$1.5bn offer to Fast in January and the acquisition will be key to the software giant’s vision of creating a single-enterprise search platform.

Fast CEO, John Markus Lervik, will transition from his role as Fast’s chief executive to become Microsoft corporate vice-president of Enterprise Search.

“From the moment I started talking to Microsoft about the prospect of bringing our talent and technology together, I realised what a powerful impact we could have on the way companies use search to drive new revenue streams and improve productivity,” Lervik said.

“Together we’ll deliver better technologies that make enterprise search a ubiquitous tool, central to how people find and use information.”

Microsoft said the plan is to drive enterprise search across its entire enterprise portfolio, including Windows, Linux and Unix.

“With our companies combined, we’ll be uniquely able to offer customers what they’ve been telling us they want most – a strategy for meeting everything from their basic to most complex enterprise search needs,” said Jeff Teper, corporate vice-president for the office business platform at Microsoft.

By John Kennedy