Mamma.com Set to Buy Desktop Search Firm

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Meta search engine Mamma.com said last week it signed a letter of intent to buy desktop search technology provider Copernic Technologies.


Terms of the deal, which calls for Mamma to pay both cash and stock, were not disclosed. Mamma said the acquisition's final price is contingent on "ongoing due diligence." The Montreal company expects the deal to close in first-quarter 2005.


The deal would make Mamma the latest search player to add desktop search capabilities. Google unveiled Google Desktop Search in October, allowing users to search for information stored on their computer, including visited Web pages, files and e-mail and instant messages.


Copernic rolled out its Desktop Search in August. It lets users search local files, e-mails and a wide range of documents. The Sainte-Foy, Quebec, company also makes Web search software, Copernic Agent, which Copernic says has been downloaded 30 million times.


Microsoft expects to roll out desktop search in December, following the introduction of the beta version of its Web search engine. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel said last month that his company would offer desktop search.


AOL also is reported to have plans in the area.


Ask Jeeves expects to unveil its desktop search shortly, after acquiring Tuckaroo in June.


Despite the flurry of activity, desktop search has not yet carried advertiser listings. Google Desktop Search is integrated with its Web search. Those results include paid listings while searches specifically on Google Desktop currently do not. Google has said it plans to test the desktop search engine thoroughly before deciding whether to add paid listings.


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