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April 23, 2009

SharePoint sure seems strong

By Miles Kehoe

Microsoft's acquisition of FAST has certainly got the attention of many other search technology companies. Based on promotions, ad campaigns, and new product announcements, it seems that most of the major FAST competitors are making the case for their support of SharePoint. That seems to indicate that either 1) they didn't think they could compete against Search Server, but can provide better search than FAST; or 2) the impending integration of FAST ESP with SharePoint has other companies worried about losing new and existing customers to Microsoft.

Nothing against Search Server and it's free version, Search Server Express - but I think I'd have to go with option (2) above. Autonomy, Google and others have long had customers who used SharePoint, and they had 'pretty good solutions'. Now, a year after the acquisition was completed, both of these search giants and a number of smaller competitors are kicking off campaigns and launching newly improved products for integration their product with SharePoint. And Autonomy, with their recently announced acquisition of Interwoven, even has their own CMS competitor to SharePoint.

In the end, the winner will be the SharePoint customer. FAST ESP is one of the top search platforms, and a tight integration will benefit SharePoint users. But sometimes companies have reason to use other vendors for search, and a tighter integration will benefit these same SharePoint users as well.

Let the games begin!


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Agreed, point 2 is the reason we are seeing this activity. I doubt many competitors were actually afraid of competing against Search Server, quite the opposite. Besides point 2, competitors might also be trying to take advantage of the time period right now, when Fast has not yet been integrated into SharePoint. This gives those competitors a moment in time to get their own solutions, marketing, etc. in place and installed into SharePoint solutions, before Fast becomes the installed search tool for SharePoint. One also wonders what might be put in place to discourage SharePoint customers from using a non-Fast solution in the future.
Great points, Brad! Curious now that search and content management are coming from the same companies, will the CMS owner attempt to thwart 'foreign' access? Time will tell.. / Miles

Good point and probably the correct conclusion. Competition is good and we will see a year or two out which companies offer the best enterprise, easy-to-implement, feature rich quality search experiences in the SharePoint domain. Managing other repositories and file share equally well will be critical. Thanks!

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