microsoft-fast.jpgMicrosoft has just announced it plans to buy Norway’s data-search company Fast Search & Transfer for $1.2 billion.

While Microsoft is slipping in its competition with Google to offer search engine services to consumers, it still enjoys a dominant position with large companies, due to its huge software sales to those companies. This acquisition is an attempt to fortify that position within companies, at a time when Google is pouring more resources into building its own applications for companies, even if that effort is still nascent. Fast is known for its search services for large companies.

“Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division in a statement. “..The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs.” More from WSJ.