Microsoft And Yahoo Agree On A Deal…. Finally!

Okay. It took a lot longer than I figured, but Yahoo and Microsoft finally have a deal:

Yahoo! and Microsoft announced an agreement that will improve the Web search experience for users and advertisers, and deliver sustained innovation to the industry. In simple terms, Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

Sounds simple enough. One wonders why it took them this long to come to an agreement… But I digress. Yahoo considers this to be a win:

“This agreement comes with boatloads of value for Yahoo!, our users, and the industry, and I believe it establishes the foundation for a new era of Internet innovation and development,” said Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz. “Users will continue to experience search as a vital part of their Yahoo! experiences and will enjoy increased innovation thanks to the scale and resources this deal provides. Advertisers will also benefit from scale and enjoy greater ease of use and efficiencies working with a single platform and sales team for premium advertisers. Finally, this deal will help us increase our investments in priority areas in winning audience properties, display advertising capabilities and mobile experiences.”

The same is apparently true from Microsoft’s perspective:

“Through this agreement with Yahoo!, we will create more innovation in search, better value for advertisers and real consumer choice in a market currently dominated by a single company,” said [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer. “Success in search requires both innovation and scale. With our new Bing search platform, we’ve created breakthrough innovation and features. This agreement with Yahoo! will provide the scale we need to deliver even more rapid advances in relevancy and usefulness. Microsoft and Yahoo! know there’s so much more that search could be. This agreement gives us the scale and resources to create the future of search.”

All I have to say is good luck with that. Even with this deal, which by the way still has to get the thumbs up from regulators, they only have 30% of the search market. Google has at least twice that. And honestly, while Bing has apparently made somewhat of an impact, I don’t see anybody ditching Google anytime soon. So they may not want to start celebrating too early as there’s still a lot of work ahead of them. That work has apparently begun as they now have a website to provide consumers, advertisers and publishers with spin additional information about the benefits of the agreement. Assuming the regulators give the thumbs up, this deal should close in 2010.

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