Microsoft is set to unveil a new business-class search tool that competes with similar features from rival Google.
What Microsoft’s uncorking is really a much more serious effort to sell businesses the hardware and software with which to improve how well employees search both the Internet and corporate intranet networks.
It’s estimated that some workers spend up to 3 hours a day using search tools, so Microsoft et al. are participating in a potentially large market.
Microsoft has a lot of motivation to enter this field. According to some analysts, rival Google has emerged as the No. 2 enterprise search provider less than three years after introducing its first products.
Speculation about what Microsoft had on tap began circulating earlier this week.
According to various sources, in the summer Microsoft plans to release free software for searching both the Internet and the computers that are part of an enterprise network.
The software giant’s Windows Live search engine is also central to the new enterprise search effort being unveiled Wednesday.
Live.com is the heir apparent to Microsoft’s MSN Search, the perennial No. 3 search engine behind Yahoo and Google.
To Microsoft’s new competitor, enterprise search company Fast Search & Transfer, it appears Microsoft’s going after the same low-end enteprise customers as Google.
“Microsoft is clearly entering the lower end of the market to combat Google; it will be interesting to see how this all plays out,” said Andrew McKay, vice president of product marketing for Fast Search & Transfer.