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Microsoft's Yahoo! pact closer to clearance

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Microsoft's plan to become a credible number two to Google in online search could be a step closer.

Reuters has reported that Microsoft is expected to secure approval for its 10-year search pact with Yahoo!, as a European Union deadline to approve or reject the deal approaches on February 19.

A source quoted by Reuters said: "I expect clearance without any concessions next Friday."

The companies' agreement was announced in July 2009. Senior vice president for Microsoft's online audience business Yusuf Mehdi said last week that as soon as Microsoft closed and implemented the Yahoo! deal, Microsoft will have achieved a milestone. "For advertisers, we are a credible No. 2."

Microsoft in January continued its US search market share gains, with Bing again inching up to hit 11.3 per cent - half a per centage point higher than December. Google, meanwhile, saw its market share fall by 0.3 per cent to 65.4 per cent. ®

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