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July 12, 2011

Inopportune time for a page not found: Microsoft

There has been an active discussion on the LinkedIn Enterprise Search Professionals Group since the news last week that Microsoft has laid off a number of sales and system engineering folks, at least in North America. Many are wondering if this marks the end of the FAST products, or whether Microsoft is writing off their $1.2B investment to acquire FAST a few years back.

I think the answer to both of these is 'no way'. Much of the FAST technology found its way into FAST Search for SharePoint, a hybrid between Microsoft search and FAST ESP. Microsoft have released two exciting new capabilities in FSIS (CTS and IMS), and they continue to run the Microsoft Research Center in Norway, where many of the FAST engineers are active participants.

All of that said, this morning I was surfing the interweb for some Microsoft proficiency tests, so I went to Google and searched

microsoft enterprise search proficiency

The first organic result looked promising:

But when I click on the link, I got this on my browser:

Not_found Oops!

Now we've all had bad links on our web sites, and even occasional outages - but given the concern some people have about the layoffs of FAST sales reps, this is a bit of an inopportune time, yes?

All of my browsers produced the error, and using the old telnet trick to port 80 or the WGET utility showed the page really did exist with no obvious re-directs or errors. So I drafted our CTO Mark Bennett to help, and after some analysis, he found the problem - in the scripts on the page: bad scripting is the culprit.

Yep - with apologies to the Buggles, JavaScript killed the Microsoft page. Disabling scripts in the browser lets the link work just fine. It just shows you that, even with all the resources in the world, lack of attention to detail will get you!

I'll be in LA at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference tomorrow; it should be interesting!





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