Based in San Mateo, California, Inktomi will provide access to an index of "more than 75 million Internet documents, as well as the most up-to-date search results of any online search engine," according to the company.
A search engine is a natural for the software giant. For very little investment, Microsoft can start generating the kind of clicks that translate directly into advertising dollars by simply sending the many Netizens who log onto its Web site to the engine.
The fact that the engine is on the Web and not strictly behind MSN's firewall is consistent with the online service's latest strategy to move much of its proprietary content from behind the walls, where it can be seen by millions of Netizens--at least in theory.
The engine "will be introduced early next year" on both the Internet and on MSN. It will start out as a simple engine, but Microsoft executives already are bragging that it will be "the freshest, most current index available to consumers" by starting with an expandable database and leveraging Inktomi's Web crawling technology.
"Our focus is on providing consumers with the deepest, most powerful, and easiest product to help them find exactly what they want on the Internet," stated David Peterschmidt, Inktomi's president and chief executive officer.
But the search engine doesn't necessarily have to be the best. Mostly, it needs to do the bottom line: generate clicks.
"Incorporating the Inktomi technology as a core service of Microsoft's online properties...[is] part of our overall goal to make MSN the place to get the most out of each Internet experience," MSN vice president Laura Jennings added in a release.