Microsoft Commits to Overture Until 2005

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-10-17 Print this article Print

MSN Search will continue to use the partner's paid placement listings.

Microsoft Corp. is extending its search relationship with Overture Services Inc. through June 2005, despite speculation that the two might part ways after Overture was recently acquired by Yahoo Inc. Overture, of Pasadena, Calif., will continue to provide paid placement search results for MSN Search in the United States and the United Kingdom as part of the deal announced on Friday. The new agreement also allows the two companies to expand the service into additional countries. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., has been indicating that it is pushing its search in-house, and earlier this month announced plans to drop search partner LookSmart Ltd.s paid-inclusion results. Reports came in June that the company had begun crawling Web sites with its own MSNBot technology and launched a Web site answering questions about the Web crawler.
With Yahoo buying Overture, a deal completed last week, speculation arose that Microsoft might jettison search partners since MSN, its Internet division, competes with Yahoo. When MSN ended its LookSmart deal, MSN officials said that the move wouldnt affect its other search partnerships with Overture and Inktomi, also part of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo.
Overture generates its search listings from more than 100,000 advertisers who bid for placement on keywords relevant to their business. In its third quarter ended June 30, Overtures relationship with MSN and Yahoo accounted for 63 percent of its revenues. In a statement on Friday, MSN Vice President Christopher Payne said: "Overture has been an important search provider to MSN, offering high-quality search listings to MSN customers and strong opportunities for advertisers."
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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