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No Bing bang for Microsoft's Yahoo! marriage

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Bing's marriage with Yahoo! will be a phased affair not a big bang, Microsoft has revealed.

Satya Nadella, senior vice president of Microsoft's online services division, said Tuesday that Yahoo!'s switch to using Bing's search algorithms and its ad serving platform will happen in two steps in September and October.

The search algorithms will go first, followed by a switch from Yahoo!'s Panama ads platform to Bing's adCenter, Nadella told members of the press during a gathering in San Francisco, California.

"When it come to Panama migration, that's where we want to make sure quality is great - they [algorithmic and ads serving switch] will be staggered," Nadella said. "Our day jobs are to mange the complexity and physics underling this between September and October."

Until now, Microsoft has simply talked in terms of Yahoo!'s switch over to the underlying Bing infrastructure being a single event set for this autumn. The company has been saying it's on target to complete the switch ahead of the retail-friendly Holiday shopping season.

The staggered approach seems designed to ensure there's no drop off in either traffic or money from advertisers. Ad revenue is a lynch pin of the deal.

Microsoft will pay Yahoo! 88 per cent of revenue it makes from search from Yahoo! sites during the first five years of the companies' deal. Bing will drive search for Yahoo! properties such as its home page, mail, personals, and shopping.

Nadella noted "the premise" of Microsoft's deal with Yahoo! is to combine the marketplaces, so having a drop off in traffic and money would be, ahem, "problematic."

Microsoft also revealed that it's developing a version of Bing for handsets powered by Android, the OS from its number-one search rival, Google.

Bing engineers demonstrated Microsoft's search engine running on a Samsung device at the San-Francisco event, although it would not reveal the carrier.

Nadella would not give a date for delivery if Bing on Android, but Microsoft typically updates Bing on a weekly basis and likes to brief press and analysts on Bing's progress every six months – recapping recent changes and upcoming updates. It's therefore reasonable to assume Bing will land on Android sometime before January 2011.

Microsoft has already struck a deal with handset provider Motorola to put Bing on its Android phones, starting with devices in China in the first quarter. Bing was due to become available as a widget either via pre-load or over-the-air download.

Mobile is an important part of Microsoft's growth strategy for Bing. A Bing widget was made available for Apple's iPhone six months ago and updated to version 1.2 last week. Microsoft claimed 4.3 million Bing-for-iPhone download to-date in the US.

As a whole, Bing mobile has 23 million users with 160 per-cent year-on-year growth in queries – from a base of zero – and people switching from using WAP on Bing to HTML to search maps and pictures. Images are one of Bing mobile's most popular search categories. ®

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