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Will Microsoft and Yahoo take on Google?
Friday, 24th July 2009
There has been a lot of comment in the press recently (http://digbig.com/5bacen), that Yahoo may be ready to set aside its differences with Microsoft and make an alliance against a common enemy, Google. While Google continues to dominate the internet search market a new chief executive at Yahoo and the new Bing search engine from Microsoft have changed the dynamics of the negotiations between the two companies. At the moment Yahoo claims two-thirds market share of the email market; which encourages its customers to continue to use the home page to search, and 20% of the search market.
The two sides are in the final stages of talks about a deal that could see Microsoft take over the running of Yahoo's search-based advertising business, in return for guaranteed payments to Yahoo. The shape of the deal is still unclear, and commentators believe that the negotiations could still break down.
In on-again-off-again talks over the course of almost eighteen months, Microsoft repeatedly tried to buy Yahoo, finally offering $46bn for the company last year, only to be turned down by former chief executive. A later attempt to tie up an advertising alliance also collapsed.
At the same time, Yahoo has made an acquisition and redesigned its homepage.
The new home page, called Front Doors offers direct links to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, and others. It is currently available only for the USA site (http://m.www.yahoo.com) and features colourful icons, popular search topics, and new avenues for advertising. While it has been seriously de-cluttered, compared with Google or Bing sparse homepages Yahoo's search bar is still accompanied by an assortment of other information
At the same time, Yahoo has agreed to acquire Xoopit, a start-up that helps people share content from their in-boxes with social-networking sites such as Facebook, (http://digbig.com/5bacep).
In 2008, Xoopit won the Yahoo Open Hack contest for building an application that runs on top of Yahoo Mail. and digs through a person's in-box to reveal photos and other media lurking within, including both attachments and Web addresses that link to sites such as Flickr or Picasa Web Albums.
Earlier this month, Yahoo introduced its news Search Pad feature (http://digbig.com/5baceq). Still in beta testing, it gives users a platform on which they can create notes based on their search results, share the information with friends, family, or business associates, and save the results for future use.
By Diana Nutting
Diana Nutting is a freelance information and knowledge management consultant, specialising in company and market information. She was previously Head of Information Strategy and Development at Business Link for London, where she was responsible for market intelligence, website content, customer research and knowledge management. Diana started her career as an academic librarian, before moving into market intelligence at, among others, Unilever and Parcelforce. She serves on the National Council of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.
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