Verity to acquire Inktomi’s search business

Search and knowledge management infrastructure vendor Verity Inc. on Wednesday announced plans to acquire Inktomi Corp.’s enterprise search software business for US$25 million in cash.

The move leaves Foster City, Calif.-based Inktomi to focus on its Web search and paid inclusion services business. In another streamlining effort, Inktomi earlier this year shed its enterprise caching and content delivery business unit to focus on its search offerings for businesses and the Web.

Verity will continue development for the Inktomi enterprise search product and plans to offer integration with related Verity products, according to Verity officials in Sunnyvale, Calif.

With the acquisition, Verity plans to extend its own information retrieval infrastructure with Inktomi’s enterprise search technology, which includes basic corporate search, an XML search toolkit, and content categorization and refinement capabilities. Inktomi acquired its Ultraseek search technology from Infoseek and more recently acquired content categorization tools from Quiver.

Inktomi’s basic search offering fills a midmarket hole in Verity’s information retrieval product architecture for large enterprises, according to Anthony Bettencourt, Verity’s president.

“We’ve built a three-tier architecture suited to large enterprises and e-business sites, but not well suited to department-level applications, and because of that we’ve been ineffective at getting to that tier in the marketplace,” he said. “What Inktomi brings us is a product that is easily downloadable, priced via document, and [has] nice user characteristics for simple applications.”

Verity plans to integrate the Ultraseek search tool with its Verity K2 Enterprise via a federated gateway that will allow K2 customers to view all Ultraseek repositories as another data source inside the organization, Bettencourt said.

“Verity has a federated architecture built into K2, so you can do a search and connect into data sources that are not Verity,” he said. “[Inktomi’s search tool] lets us play very effectively in the department level of the marketplace, and over time as customers needs become more complex, [we can] move them over to the Verity K2 architecture.”

Verity also plans to integrate workflow components from the Quiver classification product line and move them over into the Verity classification tier, Bettencourt said. Furthermore, the Inktomi XML Toolkit will add power to the existing thin layer of XML in K2.

As part of the deal, Verity will gain access to Inktomi’s customer base of 2,500 companies worldwide and will assume Inktomi’s customer support obligations, according to Verity officials. In addition, Verity officials said the company plans to offer employment to 40 Inktomi development, sales, and marketing workers.