Microsoft Seeks Fast Search & Transfer

Microsoft announced early today that it has made an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer, an Oslo, Norway-based enterprise online search firm.

The deal values the Norwegian company at about $1.2 billion U.S., and the company board of directors has recommended that the shareholders accept the offer.

Any ideas why Microsoft needs another search engine? Is it to compete with Google's enterprise search appliance? Send your ideas to me at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Slow Start to the Patch Year
Microsoft starts 2008 with only two security patches this week. One of these is labeled critical, and involves the potential for remote code execution on Windows. It's rated critical on Windows XP and Vista, but only important on Windows 2003 and moderate on Windows 2000.

The other patch involves the potential elevation of privilege, with Windows as the affected product. This one is rated important on all versions of Windows.

Intel Leaves 'One Laptop Per Child'
Citing a difference in philosophy, Intel last week pulled out of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, originated by MIT professor and Media Lab director Nicholas Negroponte. Intel has also resigned from the organization's board of directors.

The OLPC initiative is intended to design, build and distribute very low-cost laptop computers for children in Third World countries. Intel was not an original member, as it saw the initiative as a threat to its processor business and its profit margins. AMD was the original processor provider, and Intel joined only after it became clear that there was a great deal of interest in moving the project forward. Intel also started work on the Classmate PC, its own low-cost laptop intended for the same market.

Ironically, Intel's withdrawal from OLPC comes on the eve of the release of an Intel-powered laptop. Nicholas Negroponte said that he regretted Intel's departure, and offered the opinion that the company shouldn't have been designing its own low-cost laptop at the same time it was working through the OLPC organization on a similar product.

Have you seen an OLPC laptop? Can it revolutionize computing in the Third World? Tell me what you think at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Consumer Electronics Show Kicks Off
In what is possibly the world's largest technology showcase today, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is running this week in Las Vegas. While this seemingly has no impact on enterprise IT, personal gadgets have been finding their way into enterprise networks in recent years. It'll be interesting to see which new devices we'll be dealing with a year or two down the road.

This also represented the last time CES keynote speaker Bill Gates will be on a major public stage. After his keynote, he'll wind down his duties at Microsoft in preparation for a midyear retirement and a new focus on his philanthropic initiatives.

Have you seen anything in the CES coverage that you want to go out and buy? Tell me your gadget wishes at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: How Do You Browse?
What do you use to browse? Are you a veteran user of the soon-to-be-late, great Netscape? Here's what Rich had to say:

Netscape 2.0 was my first Web browser. It must have been some time in 1996. I still remember my very first search: It was for Bay Networks communication equipment. Shortly after that, I discovered Quarterdeck's Mosaic -- that was a good one.

Then, in 1999, my company standardized on IE 4.0. Since then, we've moved to 5.0, then 5.5, then 6.0 and now to 7.0. I use 7.0 at home.
-Rich

Got something to add? Let us know! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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