Microsoft Corp has offered to buy Norwegian Internet-search software firm Fast Search & Transfer for 19 crowns per share, valuing it at about $1.2 billion, the companies said on Tuesday.

If Microsoft is really serious about this space they need to do something (an acquisition). Why? SharePoint hits the wall at 50m items so its not an enterprise (Single corpus, multi-million items, 100k plus users distributed globally) contender. Integrating Fast would change that completely.

I would expect a phased approach to integration such as:

  • Slight re-brand – they must keep the FAST name to leverage the brand strength until the industry is aware of the acquisition and go forward plan.
  • Integration Phase 1 – Improve the connector for SharePoint.
  • Integration Phase 2 – Tight integration with Office and SharePoint. Seamless integration and user experience for Office users.

I would also expect them to have a standalone Search product as they do today with SharePoint Search 2008 – to compete with the Google GSA.