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Microsoft Issues Free Enterprise Search Challenge

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Search Server 2008 Express arrived as a free download from Microsoft, which launched the release candidate during a California conference.

The Enterprise Search Summit West in San Jose saw Microsoft debut its entrant into free enterprise search products. Search Server Express 2008 provides another choice for the business environment and its search needs, competing with IBM Omnifind Yahoo Edition.

Jonathan Kauffman, General Manager for Enterprise Search with Microsoft, wrote at the product’s blog of its capabilities. He cited several features like relevancy tuning and security-trimmed search results as being part of the product.

It will also support the OpenSearch standard, for federating searches across products. Kauffman acknowledged federation support from EMC, Cognos, HP, Business Objects, SAS, and OpenText. Connectors for those products should arrive with the full release of Search Server Express 2008 early next year.

Though Kauffman claimed corporate passion about giving away useful tools as a motivator for making Search Server Express 2008 available for free, there’s probably a couple of other reasons that apply. Competing with the IBM/Yahoo product would be a classic Microsoft tactic.

Search Server Express 2008 also serves as a gateway product to more advanced, for-pay solutions, just as IBM Omnifind Yahoo Edition does for IBM. In Microsoft’s case, it leads to Search Server and then to Office SharePoint Server, the latter product likely ensuring plenty of Microsoft products in the enterprise accompanying it.

Delivering a capable enterprise search product for free also gives Microsoft an edge against its hated rival, Google. The dominant search company sells its Google Search Appliance in a couple of form factors for business, as well as offering the free Google Desktop for Enterprise for local PC searches.

Microsoft Issues Free Enterprise Search Challenge
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