Yahoo is conducting tests to include Google powered test results and ads in its own web search engine, indicating towards a possible partnership between the two giants and a red signal to Microsoft’s Bing, the current search partner of Yahoo.
The tests were first uncovered by Aaron Wall of SEO Book. Later both the companies confirmed the story but refused to share any details. Yahoo said in a prepared statement,
As we work to create the absolute best experiences for Yahoo users, from time to time, we run small tests with a variety of partners including search providers. There is nothing further to share at this time.
It is noteworthy that Google and Yahoo had tried to come together back in 2008 but the partnership could not take off as the U.S. Justice Department blocked Yahoo from making a deal with Google. The department forbade Google to provide search ads for Yahoo’s web search efforts after a month-long saga of regulatory issues and complaints by competitors including Microsoft.
In addition to it, current CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer who oversaw search products at Google earlier in her career, has maintained until now that she was focused on developing new search products at Yahoo rather than turning to her old employer for help. She has also been aggressive at getting Yahoo’s search engine bundled into third-party products, like Mozilla’s Firefox web browser and Oracle’s Java software.
Yahoo entered into a 10 year deal with Microsoft’s Bing in 2009 which got amended in April this year to provide Yahoo with more “flexibility to enhance the search experience” across mobile and desktop devices.
As per the amendment, Yahoo can now partner with other companies to power its search platform, as long as 51 percent of all search results are still delivered by Microsoft’s Bing. Thats pretty much Bing’s way of saying, give us some search share too !
However, this current partnership between Google and Yahoo, if true, may not go too well with Microsoft. Bing, despite a turtle-ish start, managed to get over it and occupy second spot in a largely Google dominated search engine market. Bing currently holds 10% market share while Google leads by a staggering 71% market share.
The mathematics involved in search market are pretty complex, and they will only increase in complexity if this deal goes through. So lets brief them down one by one.
Over time, it has actually been Google’s losses which have turned into Bing’s wins. Bing scored search partnerships with the likes of Yahoo, Facebook, and the most recent being — deals it locked down with Apple and AOL, both of whom dumped Google after their contract ended.
Moreover, given the fact that Google is already facing a relatively costly anti-trust lawsuit in Europe, where it controls about 90% of all searches, any big partnership between Google and Yahoo can be expected to catch the eye of the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust scrutiny.
However, if such a partnership still happens, Bing might well see its share decimated to single digits as far as search market share is concerned. Interesting arithmetics here.