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That was FAST: Microsoft wins large customer for enterprise search

Market America uses Microsoft FAST ESP to search 35 million SKUs

After investing $1.23 billion to acquire Norwegian enterprise search vendor Fast Search & Transfer in January, 2008, Microsoft today has announced a significant customer for the technology. Market America, a $3 billion Internet marketing company, has implemented Microsoft’s FAST ESP to handle search for over 35 million SKUs on its Web site, marketamerica.com, the company said.

In a kick at the folks in Mountain View, the company noted it turned to Microsoft after Google "was unable to fulfill Market America’s search needs." The FAST ESP search engine allows visitors to the site to sift through Market America's database, while returning query results in sub-second response times, said James Ridinger, CEO. Market America plans to increase the number of searchable SKUs to 50 million within the next several months.

Microsoft's acquisition of FAST was an industry stunner at the time because of the price Microsoft paid. Expensive acquisitions are not Microsoft's usual mode of operation. FAST filled an important gap for Microsoft in that it searches structured (database) and unstructured (collaboration, text documents) data and can handle wickedly large volumes.

The news of Market America's implementation is Microsoft's way of fighting back against Google's latest news. Earlier this month Google launched some new models of the Google Search Appliance, that Google says can index up to 30 million documents. With Market America at 35 million documents, Microsoft gets to chalk one up for Redmond.

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