The deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! to combine the companies’ search platforms has been approved by both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission.
The 10-year agreement, which was first announced in July, 2009, brings together the #2 and #3 players in search, providing advertisers a combined audience of 577 million searchers worldwide. Bing will serve as both the organic and paid search platform for both Yahoo and Microsoft. Yahoo will manage the exclusive worldwide salesforce for both companies’ paid search services. Display media will be maintained separately.
According to their press release, the transition will begin in the “coming days” and the companies have set a goal of completing that effort by the end of 2010. They expect to transition non-U.S. accounts by early 2012.
The companies are referring to their joint venture as the Search Alliance and have launched a new website to provide more information on the agreement.
After the initial announcement in July, I asked a number of Search Agents to consider the potential impact of this agreement on the industry, the companies involved, advertisers, and searchers. Check out our crowdsourced reaction and stay tuned for additional commentary and insight from the team.