Google Goes after Verity Customers

Google's corporate search division gives away a $5,000 device to lure customers of market leader Verity.

Internet search giant Google Inc. on Tuesday began aggressively pursuing patrons of Verity Inc., making a play upon possible customer fears about Veritys coming acquisition.

To take advantage of the supposed opportunity, on Tuesday Google began giving away its least expensive Google corporate search product, its Mini, to new Google Enterprise customers through January 2006, the company said.

Googles Mini can index as many as 50,000 documents and usually sells for $5,000. Googles main enterprise box, the Google Search Appliance, and other appliances support indexes of between 1.5 million and 15 million and start at $32,000.

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At stake is Googles share of the estimated $600 million annually that corporations spend to improve upon their computer networks search and collaboration capabilities. Enterprise search falls under the category that number-crunching analysts call "workforce optimization." Analysts at Datamonitor predict $1 billion in sales of such services and gear by 2006.

Right now, Google Enterprise, which has 2,000 corporate clients, ranks far behind Verity, the U.S.-based market leader with an estimated 15,000 companies.

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But theres "customer turmoil" because of the likelihood that U.K.-based software maker Autonomy Corp., which is buying Verity for $500 million, will eliminate some Verity product lines that compete with Autonomys own portfolio.

Furthermore, "people say it would be very challenging to merge these two technologies," Google General Manager Dave Girouard said.

Autonomy CEO Michael Lynch counters that "Googles spin isnt accurate. Their claims arent supported by the facts."

Autonomy entered the corporate search market years after Verity, and it created its products to be compatible with the market leaders, he said.

Also, Autonomy is committed to maintaining much of Veritys present-day lineup, including its popular $75,000 Ultraseek device, he said.

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