Maybe because it’s summer, maybe because it was almost to-be-expected, but the recent accord between Microsoft and Yahoo hasn’t really received much press and while the analyses that I have read were interesting, they did not add much to what I had already assumed.

Basically, it’s a classic agreement between the second and third place leaders of a market which is dominated by an effective  monopolist: this is something that happens in many economic sectors and the fact that it is also present in the Internet search engine market, is nothing shocking. Not only, but given the general economic situation, there has not yet been a single payment by Microsoft, something which up until last year, would certainly have occurred by now.

On paper, it looks like an agreement which is beneficial to both, but as we have seen in the past, uniting two weaknesses does not always lead to desirable results. I do think that this development is positive however, as it will increase Google’s competition (something I’ve been waiting for), but we’ll just have to wait a while and see what kind of an impact it will have on the market.

From a technical standpoint (as research technology is my real interest), the news is actually kind of negative. From what I’ve read, Yahoo’s current solution no longer exist. This is a pity because it contains a great part of the history of Web search engines. It’s true that in the past two years, the engine has lost some clout (up until then, it’s quality was very similar to Google’s, if not better in many ways),  surely not due to limitations in technology, but because of a reduction in product investments.

So, farewell to Altavista, Inktomi and AllTheWeb –  in some way they  still managed to “live” inside Yahoo’s searches. Now we’ll just have to see if Bing will be able to become a worthy successor as well as a real alternative to  Google.


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