It won’t be easy for Microsoft (MSFT) to outbid Google for AOL’s search business, a source close to Google’s Mountain View headquarters tells us.
This source says Googlers are talking about plans to be to be “aggressive” during negotiations.
AOL‘s current search deal with Google (GOOG) ends soon, and earlier this year, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he’s accepting offers from all parties for the next deal.
“Google’s been a great partner. They’re obviously going to get first dibs, [but] Microsoft and other people are very interesting partners as well.”
“I had a Google sweatshirt on for almost a decade and I have an AOL sweatshirt on now. That’s really what I need to do and our team needs to do: Make sure we get the right deal for AOL.”
Tim met with Microsoft’s Bing boss, Yusef Mehdi, in September.
The main thing Tim and AOL want from a search deal is to be able to run search ads linking to AOL (AOL) content instead of ads linking to the search provider’s advertisers.
At the Citi’s Media & Telecommunications Conference earlier this year, Tim elaborated:
“We’re the largest music content provider online. It may be more strategic for us to put less ads on a search page for outside partners and put more distribution to our music properties on that search page. We can monetise the music traffic and a different part of AOL services with display ads.”
“[The deal] doesn’t just have to be good for the search part of the business. There are other things in the search deal that we may or may not trade off for search money.”
We’ve reached out to Google and will update the post if the company chooses to comment.