Microsoft and Yahoo approved

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Microsoft-Yahoo search deal gets go-ahead

Microsoft and Yahoo's search partnership has been given the green light on both sides of the Atlantic.

The European Commission and the US Department of Justice have finally cleared the agreement more than six months after it was first announced. Implementation will begin in the coming days and both companies have set a goal of completing the integration of natural search in the US by the end of 2010. Moreover, SEO companies may be interested to hear that Microsoft and Yahoo plan to have all global customers and partners moved across by early 2012.

What it means for Microsoft and Yahoo

Under the terms of the ten-year deal, Microsoft will become the exclusive natural and paid search platform for Yahoo. What this means in practice is that the Yahoo search engine will ultimately receive all its listings from Bing. However, Yahoo plans to add value itself by providing rich content, enhanced listings and a range of tools to its customers. And SEO companies are being advised that both companies will continue to compete for audience, engagement and clicks.

On the other side, Yahoo will provide the exclusive relationship sales force for premium search advertisers worldwide. Although Microsoft will continue to support its self-service offering, Yahoo will take sole responsibility for handling high-volume advertisers, SEO companies, SEM specialists, resellers and clients.

Commenting on the deal, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer said: "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." Carol Bartz, his counterpart at Yahoo, added: "This breakthrough search alliance means Yahoo can focus even more on our own innovative search experience."