Marissa Mayer: Our new search deal will 'put more pressure on Microsoft'

Marissa MayerAP Photo/Lionel CironneauMarissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, attends the Cannes Lions 2014, 61st International Advertising Festival in Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer successfully renegotiated Yahoo’s search deal with Microsoft last month and, as we previously reported, the new terms were far better for Yahoo than the old deal.

Mayer just told The Wall Street Journal that her goal with this agreement was to “put more pressure on Microsoft to make the product better.”

While she didn’t confirm the rumours that Yahoo was working on its own search engine, particularly one for mobile, she did tell the Journal that she’s focusing on improving Yahoo’s search capabilities, and the new agreement with Microsoft was all about letting her do that.

That’s not surprising given that Mayer came from Google, a company that knows a thing or two about the search business.

For instance, the new search deal lets Yahoo off the hook from using Bing 100% of the time. Yahoo only has to use Bing for 51% of its searches. It can do whatever it wants for the rest. It also lets Yahoo keep more revenue from ads served by Bing and makes Microsoft responsible for ad sales.

But the key thing she has hanging over Microsoft’s head is that either company can end the relationship after October 1 “at will.”

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So yes, she drove a hard bargain. On the other hand, Microsoft believes it will be less needy of Yahoo, soon after October 1, too.

Microsoft has deeply baked Bing into its newest operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows 10, using it for everything from the PC’s search button, to Cortana, the personal assistant included in Windows 10.

Windows 10 is expected to be released sometime this summer (scuttlebutt says July) and it will be a free upgrade for millions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs, who will be sent the upgrade and asked to install it.

The company says its goal is to have Windows 10 running on 1 billion devices (PCs, phones, tablets, other devices) within a couple of years.

If Windows 10 turns out the be the smash hit that Microsoft believes it will, Microsoft will grow Bing on its own. And as more people use Bing, the search engine should do a better job finding relevant results, too, with or without Mayer’s pressure.

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