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Yahoo! will ditch Google as its main search engine "perhaps as early as the first quarter", the WSJ reports. The paper's sources are unnamed marketing outfits who says they have been briefed on the switch by Yahoo!

This will come as little surprise to anyone. The only question was when the contractual agreements between the two companies would end.

Yahoo! is a shareholder in privately-held Google, but it owns its own search engine technology, courtesy of the acquisitions of Inktomi and the consumer business of FAST. It also owns the world's biggest paid-for search listings business, Overture. All three were bought over the last year or so.

Google is becoming a serious rival to Yahoo!, as a portal in its own right, and as the purveyor of Adwords, Overture's most formidable competitor by far. ®

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