Night of the living Yahoo

"Brains! Must have Yahoo advertising brains!" That might have been Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's call as he finally made a deal for Yahoo. Sure, it looks like Yahoo still exists as an independent company, but in reality, Ballmer's bite has turned it into a Microsoft zombie.

Yahoo has agreed to let its search engine brain, the only thing of value it really had, be replaced by Bing, Microsoft's "decision engine." That's a fancy, Microsoft marketing phrase, which means it's a search engine with a built-in bias towards giving pro-Microsoft search results.

As expected, Bing hasn't made a dent in Google's search share. Indeed, despite some reports of it hurting Yahoo's search market share, I haven't seen any proof that it did any real damage to Yahoo. Of course, Yahoo was already in a world of hurt and new CEO Carol Bartz quickly proved she wasn't up to the job of reviving the ailing Internet giant.

With this deal, Yahoo has become a dead company walking. Yahoo has clearly given up on search. If you look closely you'll see that even its ad platform Panama, is being replaced by Microsoft's adCenter.

The only people who will still have jobs at Yahoo by year's end will be ad salesmen. The company won't have any need for anyone else. As for Yahoo's old search programs, those are being turned over to Microsoft. Since the deal is for ten-years, there's no way Yahoo is going to come back to life.

None of this will be enough to beat Google. Even together, the search engine analyst sites show Yahoo and Bing having just over 20% of the market. Google has more than 70% of the market. By itself, Bing was going nowhere fast.

As far as Microsoft is concerned though, turning Yahoo into a Bing zombie is actually pretty smart. Instead of buying Yahoo, as was last year's plan, Microsoft makes it appear as if Yahoo is still an independent company. Thus, the Yahoo corpse will continue to stagger on. By disguising Microsoft's search and ads underneath its rotting exterior, Microsoft will gain search users and ad sales that would never consider switching to Bing or adCenter.

Still, zombies have this bad habit of falling apart as the story continues. So, I doubt that in the long run, the fate of Binghoo will be any different from that of any B-movie monster: dead at the end and, perhaps brought back in a rehash that will get even less attention until Yahoo's corpse lies quietly in the grave.

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