Microsoft, FAST and Sharepoint

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A few weeks ago, Fast held its annual user conference in Las Vegas with the big announcement that they where going to have a specific version of their ESP product for Sharepoint. A good overview has been written up by Jim Atkins at Personal Computing World. What I found interesting what this last bit:

"Potentially there are quiet smiles in Autonomy right now, because Microsoft appears to be emphasising Fast for SharePoint rather than Fast as an enterprise tool," Byrne said. "From a marketing perspective it's almost as if they're taking it downmarket."

Koenigsbauer was at pains to reassure existing Fast customers that Microsoft would continue to support Fast products. However, if Microsoft is intent on widening Fast ESP's appeal, and even making Fast ESP the de facto search tool for SharePoint as many commentators suggest, then some traditional Fast customers may be beginning to feel nervous.

"Fast users of old have made big investments in the technology and use it on an enterprise scale. Many of them aren't going to be SharePoint houses, so where does this move leave them?" argued Richmond.

I just don't get this bit. Fast also announced that they where going to have a product called Fast ESP for Internet Business. So why would people think they are moving downmarket? And why would traditional Fast customers feel nervous about it?

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