Friday, February 27, 2009

Software in the recession | Out on its own | The Economist

A timely search market snapshot

Mr Lynch, who developed Autonomy’s technological underpinnings while writing a doctoral thesis at Cambridge University, wants his firm to become the “Oracle of unstructured data”, a reference to the database giant that is the world’s second-largest software firm. Autonomy seems well on its way to achieving that ambitious goal. A serious rival has yet to emerge, and some 400 other software companies have licensed the firm’s core technology, called IDOL, for their own products, so that it is fast becoming a de facto standard.

To be sure, Autonomy will have to compete against Microsoft, which has bought FAST, a Norwegian rival, says Madan Sheina of Ovum, a market-research firm. Autonomy could also end up being acquired, not least by Oracle, the industry’s big consolidator, which would certainly like to dominate the field of unstructured data as well. But for the time being, Autonomy is a rare bright spot in an otherwise depressing high-tech landscape.

Software in the recession | Out on its own | The Economist

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