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April 04, 2007

FAST Acquires Convera's Retrievalware

Big news this week from Norway. FAST Search and Transfer has announced two deals with Convera.

In the smaller deal, FAST announced that Convera will deploy FAST's AdMomentum - although the press release wasn't clear whether they would be a reseller of the product, or simply an end user.

The real whopper however, was a one-paragraph press release announcing that FAST will acquire the RetrievalWare assets of Convera for $23M US. The acquisition of a smaller 'niche player' in the market (Gartner Magic Quadrant for Information Access Technology, 2006) might seem strange, until you consider that a huge proportion of RetrievalWare's installed base is in governments around the world - TechWeb's Intelligent Enterprise reports that some 70% of these government accounts are in the United States. This may mark a real opportunity for FAST to break into the US Government market in a big way.

So the consolidation continues - Autonomy bought a great list of qualified prospects when they picked up Verity two years ago - OK, they also picked up some technology that may be the basis for the long-needed interface around IDOL as well, if they can ever deploy it. FAST, on the other hand, gets a great installed base that doesn't change vendors very often - and got it for much less money. The G2 Enterprise Intelligence blog comment son how the announcement, along with deals with Comcast and Target, are helping FAST's stock price and, more importantly, its mind share. Soon you may decide to FAST yourself.

We say 'Let the games begin'!

What should be really interesting to watch is how the big American players do now. There are some government groups that want to buy from American software companies; so will this be the break that IBM, Oracle and Microsoft have been waiting for?


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