Microsoft to Expand Research Center in Norway

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Microsoft plans to expand its Norwegian research facility, making it the biggest enterprise-search research center for the company.

The software giant expects to hire another 50 engineers, adding to the 300 researchers it acquired earlier this year along with Norwegian company Fast Search & Transfer. The workers will be spread across three offices in Oslo, Trondheim and Tromsoe.

Microsoft's acquisition of Fast, worth US$1.2 billion, closed in April.

Fast offers Microsoft high-end enterprise search technology, complementing Microsoft's existing enterprise search tools aimed at the lower end of the market, including its Search Server products. Microsoft has said that it plans to integrate Fast's technology with SharePoint, the enterprise collaboration software product.

Fast had offered search products for Linux and Unix systems as well as Windows, and Microsoft has said it plans to continue to develop and support those offerings.

The acquisition puts Microsoft in competition with other developers of enterprise search products including Autonomy and Google.

Shortly after the acquisition closed, Norway's financial supervisory authority reported Fast to the police after discovering accounting irregularities at the company. At the time, Microsoft said it had taken steps to align the company's accounting practices with its own standards.

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