As the tech world awaits an announcement from Yahoo and Microsoft on their web search and advertising partnership, I'm wondering how such a partnership can achieve its end goal -- to loosen Google's stranglehold on the highly lucrative internet search market.
Reports from the Wall Street Journal, WSJ's All Things Digital blog, and Reuters Tuesday said that under the impending agreement, Microsoft will provide the search technology for Yahoo Web sites. This will presumably put Microsoft's newly-packaged Bing search engine in front of millions of erstwhile Yahoo search engine users. It's not yet clear if Microsoft's search engine will be branded as Bing on the Yahoo sites.
[ The search deal was confirmed by Microsoft and Yahoo on Wednesday. | Tired of being told to do more with less? Participate in the Slow IT movement: Rant on our wailing wall. Read the Slow IT manifesto. Trade Slow IT tips and techniques in our discussion group. Get Slow IT shirts, mugs, and more goodies. | Keep up on the latest networking news with our Technology: Networking newsletter. ]
Microsoft technology will also be used to pair the appropriate ads with the search results. Yahoo will continue to manage the sales and support of the search ads on its own sites and possibly on some of Microsoft's sites, the reports said. The two companies reportedly will share the profits from search ad sales at Yahoo and Microsoft web properties. Previous iterations of a Microsoft/Yahoo deal had Microsoft taking over both the Yahoo search and search advertising businesses.
So the reported deal will give a nice boost to Bing's user base. Meanwhile, Yahoo would get to focus on its core strengths -- advertising and content. Great, but how is this deal going to put Microsoft and Yahoo in a position to make a serious run at Google? How will Bing win over substantial numbers of existing and potential Google search users?
I'm not seeing it (and neither does blogger Ian Paul). People often use the search engine that seems familiar to them. For most people today, that's Google. Google has done a lot to integrate search with its other applications, making it even harder for users to defect.