EU Approves Microsoft-Yahoo Search Partnership

Sometimes mega-deals in the technology industry take a long time to sort out…and such has been the case with the long-term search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo that will see Microsoft’s Bing handling the back end of searches performed via Yahoo properties, with Yahoo continuing to develop its own search features and front end on top of Bing. The companies first announced the 10-year partnership in July 2009, and have been working out details ever since. Now, the European Commission has granted its unconditional approval to the partnership: coupled with previous approval from the U.S. Justice Department, the deal has cleared its last major regulatory hurdle and the companies will finally get down to work. The deal had previously been approved by regulators in Brazil, Canada, and Australia.

“This breakthrough search alliance means Yahoo can focus even more on our own innovative search experience,” said Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, in a statement. “Yahoo gets to do what we do best: combine our science and technology with compelling content to build personally relevant online experiences for our users and customers.”

Yahoo and Microsoft say they will worth with developers, publishers, and advertisers to make the transition as painless as possible. Under the deal, Microsoft will provide Yahoo with search results from Bing, but Yahoo will build its own services around those listing by integrating Yahoo content and services. In addition, Yahoo’s sales and support deal will exclusively handle high-volume advertising customers, while Microsoft will handle “self-service” advertisers. The companies hope to have the first results of their efforts up and running at least in the United States by the end of 2010, with most advertisiers transitioned to the new services before the start of the 2010 end-of-year holiday buying season. The companies hope to have all customers and global markets transitioned to the new platform by early 2012.

The search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo is slated to last at least ten years.

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