Microsoft Agrees to Buy Fast Search for $1.23 Billion from Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is buying FAST Search. The Norwegian search company, Fast Search & Transfer ASA, will be bought by Microsoft for 6.6 billion kroner, or $1.23 billion. Microsoft will buy the company via the Oslo Stock Exchange, share by share. Here is the release from Microsoft.
FAST’s share price rose 41 percent to 18.8 kroner from the news. Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, said:
Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly.
FAST is most well-known for their enterprise search appliances, but there are rumors that Microsoft may use most of the technology to help them compete in consumer search against Google, Yahoo, and Ask.com.
More coverage can be found at Techmeme.
Postscript from Chris: FAST was an early player in the web search market—it developed the AlltheWeb search engine and sold it to Overture in 2003. As part of the deal, Overture got the public AlltheWeb.com site (now a Yahoo property after Yahoo purchased Overture later in 2003), but FAST kept the web crawler technology and has continued to develop it. Therefore, Microsoft is getting a market-leading enterprise search company and a world-class web crawler (not to mention some of the smartest engineering talent in search) as part of this deal. Keep an eye on what Microsoft does with this prize over the coming months—it may surprise people.
Postscript from Barry: Gary Price has put together a timeline of events from FAST’s past. The historical perspective gives some reminded insight into FAST’s growth, success, and past failures.