In the enterprise, Microsoft has been the preeminent supplier of business software, and just about all companies rely heavily on its personal productivity products as well as its growing portfolio of business applications. While the vendor has been able to accurately gauge many market trends, the company was a step slow recognizing the importance of enterprise search. As a result, customers have often struggled to find needed information stored in applications, such as SharePoint, which has become a staple in many organizations.

To address that limitation, Microsoft publicly announced in 2007 that Enterprise Search was one of its strategic initiatives. The company's goal is to develop or acquire the capabilities needed to serve business needs from the low-end of the market with simple requirements to the high-end with advanced requirements in terms of scalability and customizations. The company has been trying to develop a unified search strategy, which means rationalizing its disparate search portfolio. That process is still unfolding, so the company now has three products capable of meeting various search needs.