Yahoo, Microsoft Extend Search Partnership Talks for 30 Days

Yahoo Inc and Microsoft Corp agreed to extend by 30 days the deadline to re-negotiate a ten year search deal, as the two Internet companies attempt to revamp a thorny partnership crafted by former chief executives.

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The search partnership, which took effect in 2010, allowed the companies to negotiate changes or to terminate the arrangement entirely after five years. Under the terms of the deal, the companies had 30 days to make changes following Feb. 23.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Yahoo and Microsoft mutually agreed to extend that deadline to a 60-day period following Feb. 23.

“We value our partnership with Microsoft and continue discussions about plans for the future. We have nothing further to announce at this time,” Yahoo said in a statement.

Microsoft declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear if the extension signalled progress or lack of consensus between Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

The announcement to extend the talks comes a few days after Nadella’s mother passed away in Hyderabad, India, according to a report in The Economic Times.

Yahoo and Microsoft began a 10-year search partnership in 2010, in a deal crafted by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. The two companies hoped their combined efforts could mount a more competitive challenge to Google Inc, the world’s No. 1 search engine.

The partnership has not lived up to expectations. Google still controls roughly two-thirds of the U.S. search market, while Microsoft and Yahoo’s combined share of the market is essentially unchanged at roughly 30 percent.

Yahoo’s Mayer, who joined Yahoo in 2012 and who has been critical of the deal in the past, tried to hold off on adopting Microsoft search technology in certain markets in 2013. A court ruled at the time that Yahoo must use Microsoft’s search technology.

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015

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