Microsoft, Yahoo Clear EU, DOJ

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-02-21 Print this article Print

This week, Microsoft and Yahoo also received clearance from the European Commission, the European Union's antitrust regulatory body, and the U.S. Department of Justice to complete their proposed 10-year search and advertising deal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will take over Yahoo's algorithmic and paid search platforms while Yahoo tackles sales-relationship duties for a portion of both companies' online search advertisers. Although Bing will become Yahoo's underlying search engine, Yahoo will continue to offer its own branded content and applications. 

"After a thorough review of the evidence, the division has determined that the proposed transaction is not likely to substantially lessen competition in the United States, and therefore is not likely to harm the users of Internet search, paid search advertisers, Internet publishers, or distributors of search and paid search advertising technology," the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division announced in a Feb. 18 statement. "In addition, the proposed agreement likely will enable more rapid improvements in the performance of Microsoft's search and paid search advertising technology than would occur if Microsoft and Yahoo were to remain separate."

The European Commission echoed that sentiment.

"The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Internet search and search advertising business of Yahoo Inc. by Microsoft," the group wrote in a Feb. 18 statement. "The Commission concluded that the concentration would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it."

According to a joint statement issued by both Yahoo and Microsoft on Feb. 18, the companies hope to transition U.S.-based advertisers and publishers before holiday 2010, but "may wait until 2011 if they determine the transition will be more effective after the holiday season." In any case, the transition of all global customers and partners is happen by early 2012.

Yahoo and Microsoft trail Google in their respective portions of the U.S. search market, with Yahoo claiming 15.3 percent in December 2009, ahead of Bing with 10.4 percent but behind Google with 65.4 percent.

Microsoft also confirmed that the Blue Screen of Death issue, reported last week, was linked to malware.

"The restarts are the result of modifications the Alureon rootkit makes to Windows Kernel binaries, which places these systems in an unstable state," wrote Mike Reavey, director of the Microsoft Security Response Center. "In every investigated incident, we have not found quality issues with security update MS10-015." Alureon attempts to access a specific memory location; the issue primarily affected 32-bit machines, according to Microsoft.

But for Microsoft, it was smartphones, and not PCs, that remained the primary focus of the week.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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