Dassault Systèmes Buys Exalead for €135M

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Dassault Systèmes has added French search specialist Exalead to its portfolio of PLM (product lifecycle management) and 3-D software.

The vendor will pay around €135 million (US$195 million) for Exalead, according to a statement.

Some 100 million people currently work with Exalead's technology, which is used by businesses, consumer-facing services like Friendster and the ViaMichelin travel portal, and Exalead's own public Web search.

Exalead's CloudView platform collects data from a wide variety of sources and transforms it into a structured, unified index for searching, according to its Web site. Along with Cloudview, which can be embedded in other applications, Exalead also offers a desktop search product and hosted services.

Combined with Dassault's products, Exalead's platform will create "a new class of search-based applications for collaborative communities," Dassault President and CEO Bernard Charlès said in a statement.

The acquisition comes less than a month after the companies announced a partnership that called for Exalead's software to be embedded in Dassault's products.

The deal sweeps yet another prominent name off the list of stand-alone enterprise search vendors, which has diminished in recent years through a run of consolidation marked by moves like Microsoft's acquisition of FAST Search & Transfer.

Smaller vendors remaining in the market face a threat from "superplatform" vendors like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, which can essentially give away search technology to their customers, a Feb. 2009 IDC report on Exalead noted. "When prices are in freefall, vendors like Exalead will have to offer a compelling advantage."

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