When Microsoft made its deal last month with Yahoo to provide the search infrastructure for its home page, using technology from Bing, it left open and non-exclusive the fate of several deals the one-time #2 search provider had already made, especially with carriers. Specifically, does Bing become the default search provider for services that had previously made a deal with Yahoo? The answer appeared to be no.
Today, that suspicion was roundly confirmed, as one of the world’s largest cooperative portals with Yahoo — one which still bears the Yahoo brand.
In a move first discovered by the UK-based blog Connected Internet, BT’s Web portal BT Yahoo became a carrier of Google search rather than Bing.
Google and Yahoo tried to agree a deal in 2008 in the US to replace Yahoo sponsored listings with Google’s higher value listings, but the deal ran into Justice Department issues and didn’t complete. This deal in the UK clearly goes one step further by replacing not only Yahoo’s sponsored results, but the whole Yahoo web i.e natural results, with Google’s. Image and Video results appear to be still coming from Yahoo though.
The non-exclusive nature of the Microsoft deal could mean that a multitude of lucrative deals Yahoo made last year with mobile carriers, including UK-based Virgin Mobile, may leave an opening for something other than Bing search. Yahoo had re-announced its Yahoo Mobile service last February, at the pinnacle of which was the mobile edition of its oneSearch mobile search platform, with voice search features. Google’s mobile search has similar functionality, pointing to the possibility that mobile services as well as PC pages could open unforeseen doors for carriers that haven’t seen any lucrative value in Microsoft’s presence in mobile in recent months, to perhaps move to Google without disturbing the spirit or even the letter of their Yahoo deals. Mobile carrier deals are where the money is.