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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The Changes Keep Coming: Overture Swallows AltaVista

Overture announced today that it will buy AltaVista, in another major development in the search business. Now that web search is becoming more reliable and profitable, the moves have been coming fast and furious.

First Yahoo buys Inktomi, then Google buys Blogger, and now this. These are exciting times, my search engine friends. What does it all mean? According to their press release:

"The acquisition will enable Overture to offer a significantly enhanced Web search solution to portals, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other destination sites, as well as additional marketing opportunities to the company's large base of advertisers. AltaVista's advanced algorithmic search technology, which crawls the Web and returns relevant search results in response to users' queries, strategically complements Overture's market-leading technology in commercial search. Additionally, AltaVista's Web site will allow Overture to test and refine new products and services in a live setting, and its suite of search-related technology patents will help support Overture's entry into algorithmic search."

I don't quite grasp how having control of a spider-based search engine allows it to "signficantly enhance" its offerings to its portal distribution partners like Yahoo, which already owns Inktomi, so what they're probably saying is that Overture realizes that its clout in the PPC space is waning and that it had to get into the search business or die a slow death.

A few days ago, I had been predicting that slow death after Overture raised its minimum bid amount to 10 cents, but now that it has AV, all bets are off. The aquisition leaves FAST as the sole remaining major algorithmic search engine that is independently owned.

Which probably means that it will be owned by Microsoft in a matter of days.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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