Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz suggested during a May 27 interview at the seventh annual D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, Calif., that she would sell Yahoo's search apparatus to Microsoft in exchange for a massive amount of cold, hard cash.
In an interview with technology columnist Kara Swisher, Bartz said that Yahoo would sell its search to Microsoft "if there's boatloads of money and the right technology involved."
When asked whether Bartz would sell Yahoo in its entirety to Microsoft, the CEO replied, "They'd have to have biiiiig boatloads of money," according to a transcript. Talks between the two companies are apparently continuing.
Bartz also added that when initially approached by then-CEO Jerry Yang to gauge her interest in running the company, Bartz turned him down. Only when Yang reattempted, using a hand-drawn Yahoo org chart, was Bartz's curiosity piqued.
"He drew arrows everywhere. It looked like a Dilbert cartoon," Bartz related to Swisher. "It needed some structure, and I'm actually quite good at that ... so I took the job."
In 2008, Yahoo under Yang repelled a takeover bid by Microsoft that damaged the search engine giant's stock and eventually contributed to Yang's leaving the company. Since then, however, Bartz has engaged Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on a number of issues, including a possible partnership.
According to reports, such a partnership could potentially involve Microsoft taking charge of Yahoo's search-advertising business, while Yahoo would run the collective display advertising business. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have publicly refused to comment on any talks, with Bartz saying in March 2009 that they were being conducted "privately."
Microsoft and Yahoo both find themselves in fierce competition against Google, which according to research company ComScore controlled 63.7 percent of the core search market in March 2009, followed by Yahoo with 20.5 percent and Microsoft with 8.3 percent.
For its part, Microsoft reportedly will roll out a new search engine this week. Code-named Kumo, the new engine may be released under the name "Bing."
In a bid to seize a larger portion of search-engine market share, Yahoo has rolled out a number of new products and enhancements to its core search apparatus, including boosting SearchMonkey with video, game and slide integration into search results. Its applications such as Friends on Fire, based on Yahoo's Fire Eagle geolocation platform, are also designed to bring more functionality to the company's offerings.