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Move over, Sam Morgan

Could another local tech startup be about to land the big bucks from a large overseas corporate? BusinessWeek thinks it’s likely: it reckons Microsoft is in talks with Eurekster, the social search company with offices in Christchurch and California.

If true, it’s a vindication for Eurekster staff who have stuck at it even in the wake of the Web crash. They reinvented their search technology and targeted it at online communities. Smart move: the search ’swickis’ have caught on quickly with bloggers and online early-adopters, making Eurekster something of a model for local Web startups and Web 2.0 groupies. Clearly, though, they’re not the only ones paying attention. 

I talked to Eurekster’s chairman and chief scientist, Grant Ryan, late last year, asking about the prospects of the latest wave of Web startups. "We lived through the boom–bust so I have scepticism running in my blood," he said in Idealog #1. "But the big difference this time is that a lot of these companies, even obscure companies, are profitable."

Ironically, Eurekster also gets a mention in Idealog #3—on newsstands next week—as an example of a Web company with a product that gets more useful as more people join. Just like, ahem, Trade Me. And, just like Trade Me, having a business model that works makes a huge difference around the negotiating table. Even if these talks don’t pan out, Eurekster has a great idea, a great execution, a bunch of patents on the way and a head start. That’s gold.