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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 8, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Microsoft buys Fast, is it interested in mobile search?

Microsoft said this morning that it was offering $1.2 billion for Fast Search & Transfer, and my colleague Ben Romano wrote a very complete post here about how Fast will help Microsoft’s business-search efforts.

However, Fast has another business much in the spotlight — mobile search.

A year ago Fast announced a partnership with Bellevue-based InfoSpace. Together, the two companies intended to develop a mobile search service to sell to wireless carriers.

I’m checking right now on the status of this partnership because in October InfoSpace sold its mobile business to Motricity.

Since that merger was announced, Durham, N.C.-based Motricity said it was keeping a majority of the InfoSpace employees (and taking over the lease on three of the five floors in Bellevue that InfoSpace had occupied). It also said it was very interested in InfoSpace’s mobile search efforts.

InfoSpace and Fast were working on a white-label mobile search solution that they argued wireless carriers would find more attractive because they could retain the branding on a phone’s search service. There was also wiggle room for the carriers to decide the content and the business model for the service.

Since Microsoft already has mobile search covered by its Windows Live platform, it will be interesting to see what it will do with this part of the business.

Comments | More in Microsoft, Wireless & telecom

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