Chapter 7. The Business of Search
Compared to most sectors of the enterprise applications business the enterprise search business is quite small. The total annual sales of search software may only amount to $3billion at most, which in IT terms is a niche market. In total there are probably no more than 80 companies in the business at present, and these are listed in Appendix B. It is very likely that business and IT managers will not be aware of any of these companies with the possible exception of Google. Most of them have revenues of less than $50million and many may have revenues of less than $10million. However this figure excludes the revenues of the search modules in large enterprise suites from IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft, as well as sales of Google search appliances.
Another way of looking at the search market is the installed base of enterprise search. Excluding the enterprise suite market probably only Ultraseek (acquired by Autonomy when it purchased Verity), Isys-Search and Google have reached the 10,000 installed base mark, but the majority of these implementations are relatively small-scale.
The good news is that if the installed base is small then the potential is significant. One of the side effects of the acquisition of Autonomy, Endeca and Isys-Search in 2011/2012 was that current and potential investors can see a trade sale of a search vendor as an exit strategy to gain a return on their investment. It does not take much to set up a search software business. ...