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This article is about the 1990s corporation. For other uses, see Inktomi (disambiguation).
Fate Acquired by Yahoo!
Founded February 13, 1996; 21 years ago (1996-02-13)[1]

Inktomi Corporation was an American company based in California which provided software for Internet service providers. It was founded in 1996 by UC Berkeley professor Eric Brewer and graduate student Paul Gauthier, David Brewer, Rob Guyton, Marion Smith, Alex Hern and Tom Lammar. The company was initially founded based on the real-world success of the web search engine That Eric Brewer and Paul Gauthier developed at the university. After the bursting of the dot-com bubble, Inktomi was acquired by Yahoo! on December 23, 2002.[2]


Inktomi's software was incorporated in the widely used HotBot search engine, which displaced AltaVista as the leading web-crawler-based search engine, itself to be displaced later by Google. In a talk given to a UC Berkeley seminar on Search Engines[3] in October 2005, Eric Brewer credited much of the AltaVista displacement to technical differences of scale.

The company went on to develop Traffic Server, a proxy cache for web traffic and on-demand streaming media. Traffic Server found a limited marketplace due to several factors, but was deployed by several large service providers including AOL. One of the things that Traffic Server did was to transcode images down to a smaller size for AOL dialup users, leading many websites to provide special noncacheable pages with the phrase, "AOL Users Click Here" to navigate to these pages.

Inktomi acquired many other companies, including C2B and Impulse Buy Networks, two companies that had more than 4 million merchandise products registered in 1998 as they provided millions of product offers daily across some 20,000 consumer-focused websites including Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL Shopping. Merchants paid Inktomi a percentage of sales and/or a cost per click for traffic sent to their websites, a model that later became known as pay per click and was perfected by Google and Overture Services, Inc. Inktomi stock peaked in March 2000 with a split-adjusted price of $241 a share.

With the financial collapse of the service provider industry and overall burst of the dot-com bubble, Inktomi lost most of its customer base. In 2002, the Inktomi board restructured the organization, following a plan led by Keyur Patel to focus back on search and divest from non-core assets. This move led to the acquisition of Inktomi by Yahoo! for $1.63 a share (or $235 million) which completed on March 19, 2003.[4] In a separate transaction, the Ultraseek Server product (renamed Inktomi Enterprise Search) was sold to competitor Verity, Inc. in late 2002.

In 2006, the technology behind the Inktomi Proxy Server was acquired by Websense, which has modified it and included it their Websense Security Gateway solution.

In 2009, Yahoo! asked to enter Traffic Server into incubation with the Apache Incubator, which was accepted in July. The original Inktomi Traffic Server source, with additional Yahoo! modifications, was donated to the open source community that same year. In April 2010, the Apache Traffic Server[5] top-level project was officially created, marking the official acceptance of the new project.


In September 1998 Inktomi acquired C2B Technologies,[6] adding a shopping engine technology to its portfolio; In April 1999 Inktomi acquired Impulse Buy Network, adding 400 merchants to its shopping engine and performance based business shopping model;[7] in November 1999 Inktomi acquired Webspective; in August 2000 Inktomi acquired Ultraseek Server from Disney's; in September, 2000, Inktomi acquired FastForward Networks; in December 2000, Inktomi acquired the Content Bridge Business Unit from Adero, a content delivery network, which had formed the Content Bridge Alliance with Inktomi, AOL and a number of other ISPs, hosting providers and IP transport providers; and in June 2001 Inktomi acquired eScene Networks. Webspective developed technology for synchronizing and managing content across a host of distributed servers to be used in clustered or distributed load-balancing. Fast Forward developed software for the distribution of live streaming media over the Internet using "app-level" multicast technology. eScene Networks developed software that provided an integrated workflow for the management and publishing of video content (now owned by Qumu, Inc.). With this combination of technologies, Inktomi became an "arms merchant"[this quote needs a citation] to a growing number of Content Delivery Network (CDN) service providers.


According to the Inktomi website, "The company's name, pronounced 'INK-tuh-me', is derived from a Lakota Indian legend about a trickster spider character. Inktomi is known for his ability to defeat larger adversaries through wit and cunning."[8] The tri-color, nested cube logo was created by Tom Lamar in 1996.


Prior to the acquisition of Inktomi by Yahoo! in 2002:

Corporate officers[edit]

  • David C. Peterschmidt – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr. Eric A. Brewer – Chief Scientist
  • Keyur A. Patel - Chief Strategy Officer / Investor (turnaround)
  • Timothy J. Burch – Vice President of Human Resources
  • Ted Hally – Senior Vice President and General Manager of Network Products
  • Jerry M. Kennelly – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary
  • Al Shipp – Senior Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations
  • Timothy Stevens – Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary
  • Giovanni Bindoni – Vice President of Europe
  • Vish Makhijani - Vice President and General Manager, Web Search

Board of directors[edit]

  • David C. Peterschmidt – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Inktomi Corporation
  • Dr. Eric A. Brewer – Chief Scientist, Inktomi Corporation
  • Frank Gill – Executive Vice President, Intel Corporation
  • Fredric W. Harman – General Partner, Oak Investment Partners
  • Keyur A. Patel - Investor (turnaround)
  • Alan Shugart – Chief Executive Officer, Al Shugart International
  • David Brewer - Original Board Member
  • Alex Hern-Original Board Member

See also[edit]