I must confess I was not happy to read this news. Microsoft apparently decided that their own Enterprise Search products was not good enough so once again they decided to go on a shopping spree. The norwegian company FAST who makes a very capable search platform was the target this time. FAST is currently one of the big players in the search engine market together with Autonomy (which have bought Verity) and possibly a few others like Endeca.
The question now is what happens to the product. Both in terms of overall quality but also whether or not it will exist as a stand-alone product. The main intention for Microsoft is of course to boost the terrible search experience in today’s version of Sharepoint. Hopefully the 3500 installations of FAST ESP around the world is enough incentive to keep it as a stand-alone product. Another issue that concerns me is the technology aspect. Today, FAST is not built on Microsoft technology and the question what Microsoft thinks of having products based on Java, Python and even some open source components such as Tomcat. And what about FAST support for heavy-weight ECM platforms such as EMC Documentum? One thing is for sure, there will not be a FAST ESP for Mac OS X Server 🙂