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Stephen Logan

Yahoo & Microsoft Close to Striking Search Deal

29th Jul 2009 SEO 2 minutes to read

The day has finally come where the oft-mooted deal between Yahoo and Microsoft may actually come to fruition. After more than a year of legal wrangling and buyout proposals, the two search giants appear to have come to an amicable agreement. Not before time too.

Yahoo currently holds a very strong second position in the global search volume charts with Microsoft’s Bing trailing some distance behind in third. Unfortunately for both, Google are leagues ahead and have been for some time. A collaboration between the nearest competition has always been the only realistic way for anyone to usurp Google’s stranglehold, and finally that looks like it could happen.

Clearly the two sides have spent some time weighing up each other’s perspective strengths. From Yahoo’s point of view they have the superior advertising model and attract far more revenue that way. They also have hugely popular news features, email and other applications, which all go to help ensure that users continue to flock to their site in droves.

Conversely, Microsoft has none of that. They’re some way behind Yahoo in terms of search volume and global reach. However, Bing has been something of a revelation after the train wreck that was Live Search. The SERPs have improved far beyond what many had ever envisioned, providing something that provides a genuine challenge to Google’s much vaunted algorithm.

As speculated in my initial post earlier in the month when Microsoft re-launched their bid to buy Yahoo, Bing is certainly the search engine du jour. Yahoo can’t compete with the quality of search results; but if today’s reports are anything to go by, they won’t have to for long. If it is concluded as expected, Yahoo will swallow up Bing, maintaining their brand identity but incorporating the Microsoft search engine.

It’s a logical conclusion to a long-running saga, and a conclusion that could well have Google sweating. As established a couple of weeks ago, users are already spending more time on Yahoo than Google, so what will improved search bring to the party? Will people be more inclined not to simply check their Yahoo mail (still the most popular in the world) before navigating off to Google?

Now that Microsoft and Yahoo have stopped bickering over second place, they can finally start pushing Google for dominance; helping to make search far more competitive. Of course there is a counter argument that suggests having only two companies vying for superiority is a negative thing; but in truth recently it has usually been a case of Google plus the also-rans.

A new look Yahoo with Bing incorporated is an exciting proposition. With the combined experience and knowledge of the two companies search innovation should be assured. It could also make the world of paid search far more competitive, which may in turn drive down costs for advertisers. Essentially though, this is one of the biggest industry stories in some time and it could soon be coming to its conclusion.

So how do you think a Yahoo engine powered by Bing would work? Would you be tempted to move over from Google to Yahoo full-time, or does Google still have far too much for any potential competitors? Nothing is going to change overnight, but it will certainly be interesting to see how this saga concludes itself and how a Yahoo and Microsoft collaboration could ultimately work.

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