Could Yahoo and Microsoft win the search wars?

It looks as though the fight for world wide web domination is hotting up: web giants Microsoft and Yahoo have announced plans which may see nemesis Google lose its stranglehold on the online search and pay-per-click (PPC) markets.

The deal, revealed this afternoon, will see Microsoft’s Bing search engine power Yahoo’s search pages, while Yahoo’s pay-per-click company Overture will handle the advertising sales for Microsoft.

While an agreement between the two companies, both of which have been badly threatened by Google’s grip on, well, almost the entire online market, has been in the pipeline for some time, Yahoo had until now resisted the software behemoth’s attempts at takeover, instead preferring to approach Google for an advertising deal, a move which was quashed after several antitrust investigations in the US.

The move might not quite hit Google’s search and pay-per-click offerings hard, but it will certainly deliver a slap in the face: Bing has been touted by some as the first credible alternative to Google’s search offering – flattering words backed up by figures which show while Google still enjoys an 81% share of the search market, Bing has managed to claw its way for more than 5% in the relatively short space of time since its launch in May this year.

While Google might not quite be quaking in its boots yet, the deal may well lead PPC advertisers to reassess their marketing spend. In fact, it could even restore a healthy sense of competition to the search market – which is no bad thing.

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