Yahoo and Microsoft's long-awaited tie-up in search and advertising has now been given the green light by both the US Department of Justice and the European Commission, with the first signs of implementation beginning in the 'coming days.'
The 'search alliance', announced back in July, had raised questions about competition, but with Google so heavily dominant in the search world, the major bodies have okayed the tie-up.
Bing will now serve as the engine for Yahoo's search, with the latter becoming the 'exclusive relationship sales force for both companies' premium search advertisers globally'.
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Breakthrough search alliance
"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 added. "Although we are just at the beginning of this process, we have reached an exciting milestone.
"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."
Bing is being seen as a major product within Microsoft, with the company rallying behind what UK MD Ashley Highfield told TechRadar was an 'easier to use, prettier, much more of its age search engine than Google'.
That said, the company acknowledges that convincing the consumers to change is going to be a difficult task, although the tie-up with Yahoo will certainly help bring the product to a much larger slice of the audience.
'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,' explains the press release.
'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.'
When YaBing? When?
So when will the collaboration be entirely operational? The statement insists that the US market with have 'YaBing' (our word) by the end of 2010, with the US advertising 'transitioned' (their word) by 2011.
'All global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012,' the statement asserts.