Microsoft Bids on Norwegian Search Company

In another sign of desperation in its fight against online search giant Google, Microsoft this week revealed its willingness to again dramatically overpay its way into a better competitive position. The company this week offered $1.2 billion to purchase Fast Search and Transfer (FAST), a Norwegian maker of corporate search technologies.

The move follows similarly overpriced investments in such firms as Facebook and aQuantive in the past year, both of which were reactions to similar Google moves. The $1.2 billion offered for FAST is a heady sum for a firm that generated $163 million last year but barely grew year-over-year.

Assuming the deal passes muster with FAST shareholders and regulators, Microsoft says it plans to integrate FAST's search technologies into its corporate search and Web search offerings. Microsoft president Jeff Raikes, who oversees the company's business division, says the acquisition makes Microsoft "the clear leader" in enterprise search.

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