Yahoo and Microsoft have finally gotten U.S. and European clearance for their search outsourcing deal, without restrictions.
The companies will implement the agreement “in the coming days,” which will involve moving Yahoo’s search queries over to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, with Yahoo becoming the exclusive premium search sales force.
The companies expect the tech transition to finish by the end of 2010, at least for the U.S. They plan to make “significant progress” moving advertisers and publisher partners before the holidays, but “may wait until 2011” if they think it’ll be a better move. “All global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.”
The companies still need to get clearance in Asia, MarketWatch reports.
Here’s the release:
SUNNYVALE, Calif. & REDMOND, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT – News) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq:YHOO – News) announced today that they have received clearance for their search agreement, without restrictions, from both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission, and will now turn their attention to beginning the process of implementing the deal.
Implementation of the deal is expected to begin in the coming days and will involve transitioning Yahoo!’s algorithmic and paid search platforms to Microsoft, with Yahoo! becoming the exclusive relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers globally. Once the transition is completed, the companies’ unified search marketplace will deliver improved innovation for consumers, better volume and efficiency for advertisers and better monetization opportunities for web publishers through a platform that contains a larger pool of search queries.
“This breakthrough search alliance means Yahoo! can focus even more on our own innovative search experience,” said Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz. “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.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer concurred with Bartz’s assessment. “Although we are just at the beginning of this process, we have reached an exciting milestone,” Ballmer said. “I believe that together, Microsoft and Yahoo! will promote more choice, better value and greater innovation to our customers as well as to advertisers and publishers.”
Consumer Search Experience
Under terms of the agreement, which was announced in late July 2009, Microsoft will provide Yahoo! with the same search result listings available through Bing, and Yahoo! will innovate around those listings by integrating rich Yahoo! content, enhanced listings with conveniently organised information about key topics, and tools to tailor the experience for Yahoo! users.
Yahoo! will focus on providing a compelling and innovative search experience that allows people to find and explore the things, people and sites that matter most to them. While Microsoft will provide the underlying platform, both companies will continue to create different, compelling and evolving experiences, competing for audience, engagement and clicks.
Yahoo! and Microsoft will work with advertisers, publishers and developers on a customised plan designed to make the transition as efficient and seamless as possible. Both companies will begin working closely with most partners well in advance of their planned transition to the Microsoft platform and will communicate important information to partners about the transition periodically via phone, email, webinars and a newly created website at www.searchalliance.com.
The companies will begin the transition of algorithmic search and have set a goal of completing that effort in at least the United States by the end of 2010. The companies also hope to make significant progress transitioning U.S. advertisers and publishers prior to the 2010 holiday season, but may wait until 2011 if they determine that the transition will be more effective after the holiday season. All global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.
Once the transition is in place, Yahoo! and Microsoft will each represent and provide customer support to different advertiser segments. Yahoo!’s sales team will exclusively represent and support high volume advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies, and resellers and their clients. Microsoft will represent and support self-service advertisers.
Although the transaction previously was cleared by regulators in Australia, Brazil and Canada, the terms of the agreement required clearance by U.S. and European regulators before it could commence. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Yahoo! continue to work with regulators in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan to ensure that they have all relevant information necessary to evaluate the transaction before the deal commences in those specific jurisdictions.