Microhoo's Shotgun Marriage Over- Now Comes the Awkward First Wedding Dance
After almost a year and a half of back of speculation, it looks like Yahoo and Microsoft have finally tied the knot. (Link provides a timeline of the events.)
While not the full buyout that Microsoft had initially angled for, it does provide a 10-year partnership that makes Bing the default search on Yahoo's site and gives Yahoo the right to handle sales of search ads for both companies.
Early this morning most pundits have this scored as advantage Microsoft; their stock is up slightly while Yahoo is tanking in early trading.
Personally, I've got mixed feeling on the whole affair. I've long thought Microsoft needed to stop focusing on shiny objects like search, its new retail stores, and the Zune. Instead, Microsoft should have focused their attention on areas more complementary to its existing expertise (imagine if all the search resources had been poured into Virtualization, shareholders would be much happier right now.)
That being said, Bing is Microsoft's first search product that really made people stand up and say, "Hey, finally something that's different than Google... And maybe even a little bit better." So, even though I have about as much confidence in Microsoft beating Google as I have in John Daly being able to run a half-mile without cardiac arrest, I think the time to take a shot at a game-changing deal like this is now.
Fairly soon Google will innovate and Bing will lose its early luster. Put in that light, it's a pretty cagey deal on Microsoft's part to lock in Yahoo by leveraging early positive press reports on Bing. Additionally, Yahoo's main page is still a traffic monster, pulling in 300 million unique users a month. If the two companies can start getting people to do more searching off Yahoo's portal too, they'll be able to put a real dent in Google's stranglehold on search.
Of course, that's just my .02 on the sordid affair. Drop a line below and let us know what you think of this morning's news.