Microsoft and Yahoo! formally announced today that they have received clearance for their search agreement from the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. According to a joint statement, the companies will now turn their attention to beginning the process of implementing the deal, which is expected to begin in the coming days and continue through to the end of 2010.
The process will involve transitioning Yahoo!’s algorithmic and paid search platforms to Microsoft, with Yahoo! becoming the exclusive relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers globally. “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 concurred with Bartz’s assessment. “Although we are just at the beginning of this process, we have reached an exciting milestone,” 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.”
Once the transition is in place, Yahoo! and Microsoft will each represent and provide customer support to different advertiser segments. Yahoo!’s sales team will exclusively represent and support high volume advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies, and resellers and their clients. Microsoft will represent and support self-service advertisers.