The Google-like simplicity of Lookout from Lookout Software is a welcome relief. And simpler is better. Not only are your search results delivered, by default, ranked by relevance but using simple keywords, such as "from," you also can hone your search without resorting to the likes of the aforementioned "double advanced" menus.Spam filters and constant pruning notwithstanding, my Outlook mailbox is just plain huge. With my Outlook offline storage file weighing in at more than 1G byte, I sit here today with something north of 10,000 items in my in-box with about half that amount again residing in Sent Items.While Outlook 2003 certainly is better equipped than prior versions, its search capability is still relatively labor-intensive if not primitive. Finding a particular item involves clicking off which folders to search. If your time frame involves something older than "last month," you find yourself following an "advanced" tab to yet another "advanced" tab ("double advanced") into a great labyrinth of more options than you could ever deal with.Thus, the Google-like simplicity of\u00a0Lookout\u00a0from Lookout Software is a welcome relief. And simpler is better. Not only are your search results delivered, by default, ranked by relevance but using simple keywords, such as "from," you also can hone your search without resorting to the likes of the aforementioned "double advanced" menus.All this is free from what appears to be a tiny company. But it's not. One might hazard a guess that Microsoft's Outlook search development team has more secretaries than Lookout has developers.But there's more to the story than just a neat tool. Just last month,\u00a0Lookout became part of Microsoft's move to unseat Google\u00a0as the premier provider of search services.Lookout is now part of Microsoft and its technology looks to become an important element of the behemoth-to-be MSN search. As much as Microsoft has been criticized over the years for its arrogance, recent acquisitions have proven that it is sufficiently humble not to overlook outside technologies simply because they were "not invented here."One can be sure that Microsoft sees the dual benefits of most acquisitions - adding it to the Microsoft arsenal while taking the same technology out of play for competitors.Look what Microsoft managed to do with the "virtual PC" space. Two years ago, it was dominated by two small companies, VMWare and Connectix. While using Microsoft as its base operating system, Connectix offered support for Linux guest operating systems. Microsoft bought the company in early 2003. Guess which guest operating system suddenly became unsupported?This left Microsoft users interested in learning Linux with only VMWare (which EMC purchased in the interim). So, with one stroke, Microsoft not only helped promote its own virtualization strategy but made moving to Linux a little bit harder.