Earlier today, Microsoft released information stating they will complete a $1.2billion purchase of Norwegian search firm FAST Search and Transfer sometime in the second quarter of this year.
Founded in 1997, FAST has had a significant impact on the evolution of search engines over its 11 year history. Most recently, FAST has been the backbone of several enterprise search engines (those used by large-scale businesses on their websites or intranets) including Microsoft Windows Marketplace, Fujitsu UK, WebTrends, Lexis Nexis, and Omniture.
In 1999, FAST Search and Transfer introduced one of the most innovative general search engines, AlltheWeb. Seen as a potential rival to Google, AlltheWeb was, for a short time, a major contender in the early search engine loyalty battles.Â In the long run, AlltheWeb helped set the stage for the current state of the search engine business world.
Yahoo, which was serving Google organic results at the time, saved itself from total irrelevance when it bought AlltheWeb in 2003. The purchase allowed Yahoo to reinvent itself as it integrated AlltheWeb and two acquisitions, Alta Vista and Inktomi, into its organic search database. Around the same time, Yahoo bought the original PPC pioneer, Overture, running it as a separate but associated operation for two years.
With this purchase, Microsoft will bulk up its enterprise search offerings with an eye on providing expanded website, database and intranet search capabilities. The in-site search function of thousands of websites is about to get more accurate and reliable.