Microsoft, Yahoo search deal faces DOJ scrutiny

Microsoft will have to provide additional details about the search agreement, which will face an in-depth antitrust review

A Microsoft and Yahoo search deal, announced in July, will face an in-depth antitrust review from the U.S. Department of Justice, Microsoft has confirmed.

The DOJ requested additional information about the deal earlier this week, Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans said. Microsoft expected the DOJ to look into the agreement and conduct a "thorough review," he added.

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"When we announced the agreement, we said we were hopeful it would close by early next year," Evans said.

A DOJ spokeswoman said she couldn't comment on the Microsoft/Yahoo deal.

Under the deal, Microsoft's Bing search engine will power Yahoo's search site, and Yahoo will sell premium search advertising services for both companies.

The agreement took nearly a year and a half to work out and started with an unsolicited bid by Microsoft to buy Yahoo in February 2008. The goal of the deal is to allow Microsoft and Yahoo to provide more search competition to market-leader Google. As of June, Google had a search market share of over 70 percent in the United States.

Under the 10-year agreement, Microsoft will have an exclusive license to Yahoo's core search technologies as well as the ability to integrate them into Bing.

Microsoft revamped and relaunched its search engine about two months before the deal was announced.

In November 2008, Google called off a search advertising deal with Yahoo after the company was told the DOJ would oppose the deal.

The Microsoft and Yahoo deal must clear regulatory approval in both the United States and Europe. It's still unclear whether the European Union will undertake a formal review, Evans said.

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