For those folks living under a rock, in Siberia or who had a momentary outage of their Internet, Cable TV and newspaper services, Microsoft & Yahoo announced an agreement whereby "Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers."
Although the press release contained a lot of business jargon, hyperbole and superlatives, one big thing was missing from the release (to no surprise)... the name Google.
The expression "white elephant in the room" is probably understated in this case. Both Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer alluded to the Internet giant in the press release, enough to make it an uncomfortable read.
Here are the couple of obtuse mentions:
"one company that dominates more than 70 percent of all search"
"currently dominated by a single company"
And here's some examples of the overt hits on the never mentioned big G:
"will improve the Web search experience for users and advertisers, and deliver sustained innovation to the industry"
"will lead to more value for advertisers, better results for web publishers, and increased innovation and efficiency across the Internet."
"a new era of Internet innovation and development"
"Providing a viable alternative to advertisers"
"no longer have to rely on one company that dominates"
"unleash competition and innovation in the market"
Those of you that have read my co-authored post on the Bing vs Google hoohah and last week's "Why I'm sticking with Google" posts know I have no love lost for Microsoft's search engine relevance. I believe this press release firmly positions the Yahoo / Bing partnership as a solid #2 as opposed to a more positive "we're doing it different and better." (Throwing the word 'innovative' around doesn't guarantee it's going to work any better!)
The funny thing is, overall I think the partnership is great news for the search industry. Less competition in this case *does* mean more competition. I just wish Microsoft would spend their $100 million ad budget on improving the relevance of their search as opposed to just saying how good they are (or plan to be!)
As I often refer to relevance as "The Holy Grail of Search," I'm imagining Spamalot's King Arthur "riding" on stage with coconut clapping knave in tow, looking at the audience and saying, "I haven't found the Holy Grail, but I have spent a lot of money looking for it!"
Until Bing / Yahoo demonstrates the value in their search results, and actually starts comparing relevance against Google (and showing it's better), I can further imagine Google as the French Knights in Spamlot yelling from their castle's battlement "Now go away, or we shall taunt you some more."