Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience in Tokyo that the Microsoft-Yahoo agreement over search-and-advertising could expand beyond the U.S. into worldwide markets. Although the deal is currently under evaluation by the U.S. Department of Justice, neither Microsoft nor Yahoo have publicly expressed concerns about whether it will successfully close in early 2010.
CEO Steve Ballmer suggested during a trip to
Tokyo that the
search-and-advertising partnership between his company and Yahoo could expand
beyond the United States
into global markets.
"It's possible that we will extend that partnership [with Yahoo]
outside the U.S.,"
Ballmer reportedly told a news conference, according to Reuters
"We will have to wait and see if we can get approval and consummate that
partnership inside the U.S.
The agreement-which will have Microsoft's search engine, Bing, power Yahoo's
search, while Yahoo handles worldwide sales for both companies' search
advertisers-is still under evaluation by the U.S. Department of Justice. During
a Sept. 22 event at NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square, Yahoo
CEO Carol Bartz suggested that the process was moving with no issues
"We don't expect any[thing] different than we did in July," Bartz
told the audience of reporters, referring to the date of the agreement's
announcement. "We still expect it to close in early 2010."
Microsoft has acknowledged that the Justice Department is looking into the
agreement, but declined repeatedly to share details.
"As expected, Microsoft and Yahoo have received requests for additional
information about the agreement," Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesperson,
said in a statement e-mailed to eWEEK on Sept. 11. "As we said when the
agreement was announced, we anticipated that this deal will be closely reviewed
and we are hopeful it will be approved in early 2010."
The agreement will theoretically allow both companies to better compete
against Google, which currently dominates the online search-and-advertising
space. With the deal in place, Bing's market share could increase from its
current 8.4 percent to nearly 30 percent, if Yahoo's current search-engine
share of roughly 19.6 percent is ported over to Bing's with no attrition. In
theory, that would present a stronger challenge to Google's 65 percent share of
The agreement is also currently under evaluation by the European Union.
"There are ongoing informal discussions between the European Commission
and Microsoft and Yahoo on their search engine partnership," an unnamed
source told Reuters on Sept. 15.
"We said back in July when we announced the agreement that we would be
discussing the agreement with the European Commission," Microsoft
spokesperson Jack Evans confirmed to eWEEK soon after that Reuters report.
"Those discussions continue."
Microsoft has already spent several months wrestling with European antitrust
regulators over a number of issues, particularly whether Internet Explorer 8
could be bundled with Windows 7. Microsoft decided in August that it will release
a version of Windows 7 in Europe that includes Internet Explorer 8 but offers
users a "ballot screen" that will allow them to select the Internet
browser of their choice.
A Bloomberg report published in July suggested that Microsoft is trying to
wrap up its European antitrust investigations before EU Competition
Commissioner Neelie Kroes steps down from office at the end of this year.