After months and months of on-and-off talks, Microsoft and Yahoo may be only a couple of days away from announcing a partnership. Sources close to Yahoo say that the deal is ‘likely’ to be announced this week. They expect that Microsoft and Yahoo will work out a revenue-sharing plan, rather than exchanging a big lump sum payment.
This agreement would make Microsoft’s ‘Bing’ search engine the provider for all Yahoo users searching needs. Yahoo is currently the #2 market share holder in the U.S search market, coming in at just under 20%. If this agreement goes through, their traffic will be added to Bing’s, giving the new engine a massive boost in both credibility and solvency. With close to 30% of the market in their hands, Microsoft would finally be able to give Google a real run for their money.
I hope Yahoo ends up signing. A partnership like this would let us know in two to three months how likely Bing is to succeed as a search engine. Currently their massive growth has been almost entirely at the cost of smaller, non-Google search engines like Yahoo. If they consolidate in this way, they’ll be directly competing with with the search engine king for the first time.
It won’t take more than a few months to get an idea of how well Bing is going to fare. If we see Google’s market share shrink and Bing’s rise, we’ll know Microsoft’s engine is here to stay. If Bing still can’t cut down on Google’s share with Yahoo behind them, than we’ll know the new search engine is doomed. Whatever happens, it’s going to be fascinating to watch.