It’s been over a week since FAST and MSFT announced their $1.2 billion dollar deal, and now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I thought it’d make an interesting subject for a post. On the surface, its a pretty strange deal. While FAST does support MSFT as a platform, it’s definately not their natural home. It made me wonder what the draw was for MSFT, but I think its probably as simple as their realization that unstructured content is the future battleground for all of the big money in IT, and FAST is one of the 3 players that controls the big dollar deals. I think its a good play for MSFT, as it gives them instant credibility in enterprise search, and gives them some bodies with good experience in internet search (anybody remember alltheweb ?). For what its worth I think microsoft understands the enterprise search world a whole lot better than Google, and because of that they realized how much easier it would be to land big enterprise deals with FAST in their barn. Google and their appliance are really a one size fits all kind of solution, and that’s great for department level solutions, but for big enterprise level deals customization is the name of the game and FAST is built around that premise. The more interesting question is what does it mean to Autonomy, Endeca and all of us little guys? Autonomy and Endeca go from big fish to minnows in the blink of an eye, but they are also now a viable option to “big bad Microsoft”. I’m honestly unsure of how things will play out for Autonomy and Endeca, but I’m much more bullish on what this means for all the little players like Lexalytics, Attensity and Temis
. I think this acquisition is bringing focus to the space and can’t help but increase the markets for best of breed technologies. We’ve already seen a noticable pick up in business since the new year, and from what I’m hearing the same is true of our competitors. We also become acquistion targets, and I expect some of us will get snapped up this year, but the pickup in the business means it won’t be the steal it might have 8 months ago.