Feeds

Search and rescue: Why Facebook AND Yahoo! need Microsoft

Zuck pact with Purple Palace doesn't exist

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Comment A surprising rumour suggesting that Yahoo! had been in talks with Facebook about a possible search deal popped up in the British Sunday press yesterday. It then quickly catapulted its way to Silicon Valley - only to be almost immediately pooh-poohed as nonsense.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Yahoo! chief Marissa Mayer had been having cosy chats with Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg, according to an unnamed source. The news article then appeared to make the logical leap that those confabs must mean something significant like a search deal - maybe.

All Things Digital's Kara Swisher roundly dismissed the speculation after her sources at the Purple Palace apparently "scoffed" at such a suggestion.

That's because a search engine pact between Mark Zuckerberg's free-content ad network and Yahoo! would be effectively rudderless without the intervention of Microsoft.

Both Facebook and Yahoo! currently have search agreements in place with MS.

And while Zuck has recently indicated that his company was "uniquely positioned" to build its own search engine and reiterated that he had "a team working on it", it's also the case that Microsoft continues to have an exclusive deal with Facebook to power the network's search system with Bing, and in the past year that partnership has in fact strengthened.

In August, for example, Facebook began allowing its 1 billion-strong global userbase to find photos in Bing that had been uploaded to the social network.

But it's undoubtedly true that Facebook has been beavering away at search for some time now, having poached Google Maps maker Lars Rasmussen, who defected to Zuck's crew in October 2010. Rasmussen has been working on that particular project with about 25 engineers. They are said to be focusing on making Facebook return more intelligent results to search queries, and the firm's "Like" button - used to punt advertisers' brands - is understood to be the centrepiece of that action.

Yahoo!, meanwhile, continues to enjoy an exclusive deal with Microsoft, which scooped up the Purple Palace's search estate some time ago. Without the necessary tech underpinning Yahoo! (once upon a time a huge search engine...) it's hard to see how Facebook would benefit from any sort of deal with Yahoo! that bypasses MS - which, it's worth adding, still has a $240m stake in Zuckerberg's firm. Yahoo!, on the other hand, has no shares in Facebook and only recently gave up battling the company over patents.

Yahoo! and Facebook might now have become good neighbours who are willing to share the occasional bag of sugar, but both need Microsoft to power their search. And that's a fact that's unlikely to change in the near- or even mid-term. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.