Seekport Takes On Google, Yahoo

Pune, Aug 26 | Updated: Aug 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
Google rules the world today but there is serious competition coming up for the search engine in European markets especially the non-English speaking ones. Not too happy with the US-centric search engines are the Germans and they are looking for alternatives that would be more relevant to them, says Ranjit Dhuru, chairman and CEO of Aftek Infosys. His company in Germany, Seekport Internet Technologies GmbH has picked up the gauntlet and is looking at dominating the market.

With 125 million indexed pages, Seekport is three times bigger than Google or Yahoo and has become a prominent player in the German market, Dhuru said. Seekport in its earlier avatar was called Infoseek and has been resurrected and is now a Germany search Engine. Unsatisfied German surfers are looking for alternatives to Google and Yahoo, says Mr Dhuru. Seekport uses a more refined vertical interest based search which restricts the query to the area of interest and does not throw up irrelevant pages based just on key words and more of US-based information, explains Mr Dhuru. Also Seekport is able to use a human team to filter information.

Paris is the next destination. The French index is ready and operations in France, Seekport SA,is all set to take off in Septemeber, Dhuru said. UK, Italy, Spain and Scandanavian countries are next in the pipeline.

Aftek Infosys owns 49 per cent of Munich-based Arexera Information Technologies. Arexera has a 56 per cent in Seekport Technol-ogies. Techno Overseas Ltd of Geneva and Hamburg based consulting and holding company, Xperience-at-work GmbH are the other investors in Seekport.

Aftek could go after these European markets thanks to the acquisitions in Germany in 2003 when it picked up 49 per cent with commitment to pick up 100 per cent in 2007 after meeting performance requirements. Aftek has transferred all the development work from Germany to its Pune development centre while front end and top technology team has been retained in Germany. Aftek is setting up a new facility in Pune at the Hinjewadi IT park with investments of about Rs 45 crore.

The Euro 8.8 million German acquisition also helped the Rs 140 crore Aftek target Arexeras clients such as Datev, Axel Springer, DaimlerChrysler, BMW and Siemens. Dhuru said Aftek has got approval from Siemens and BMW to be their service providers and this would boost revenue from Europe. Arexera has also tied up with Sun Microsystems Germany and Swiss document management company, Abonis AG which enables the company be a significant player in the Unstructured Data Management space, which is being touted as the next growth area.