The value of high-end search technology was demonstrated today as Microsoft offered to acquire FAST Search & Transfer for approximately $1.2b. The transaction, endorsed by FAST management and key investors, is expected to be completed in 2Q08. We see this as a good deal for FAST, a good deal for Microsoft and a good deal for customers. This is a transformative event for the enterprise search industry.
Microsoft today put itself squarely into the enterprise search market by introducing Microsoft Search Server Express 2008. You can download the release candidate from its website and give it a try if you have a Windows 2003 Server with some free space on it. It's free today, and it will be free when it goes to general release in the first quarter of 2008. Don't be fooled by its cost; this is a capable product that will get the attention of anyone considering or in the midst of a search deployment. Search Server will disrupt the strategies of clients and vendors within the already confusing search landscape. It is better than 'good enough' on many fronts, including its connectivity into Documentum and FileNet content repositories — also free — and its unified administration interface. For more insights, take a look at Forrester’s view on the release.