No Business Awards for Microsoft's Bing Yahoo! Deal

How Melissa Mayer's New Position Prevents Bing From Winning Any Business Awards

Microsoft's Bing search engine is screwed. Back on July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that they had reached a 10-year agreement where Yahoo! would use Bing as their search engine and ad platform. This seemed like a great deal at the time...a real award-winner. Yahoo! has lots of traffic with great content and websites. Seemed like a no brainer.

Today after lots of investment in updating their tools (including a Google AdWords import tool) Bing has made great strides, claiming roughly 30% share of search in the US. Roughly half of that comes from bing.com and other Microsoft properties, while the other half from Yahoo! and other Yahoo! sites. So in effect Bing doubled it's market share for Bing search (Live.com had approximately 7% share) and doubled that again with the Yahoo! deal.


Recently Matt Lydon, General Manager, SMB Search Advertising for Bing, mentioned that the 10-year deal has a 5-year look. Meaning 5 years after the deal was signed (or thereabouts) both parties can review the deal to see if it still makes sense. Now, while there surely are clauses about how the agreement can be terminated, think about that date and recent events.

On July 16, 2012 former Google executive Melissa Mayer (@marissamayer) was named the new CEO of Yahoo!. Not only was this a shock to Google and the world, Microsoft must have gasped out loud. What this meant was big change was ahead for Yahoo! as the board decided to take the company in a new direction. Gone are the Hollywood executives whose traditional media model failed to deliver meaningful results.

It was once theorized by serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis (@jason) that 1 percent of search market share was equal to $1 billion in revenue. If that's true, then Yahoo! and Melissa Mayer have to be looking at search. She has even indicated so much in a recent leaked employee memo reported on by Kara Swisher (@karaswisher).

First up was a look at how she is zeroing in on improving its troubled search efforts and advertising platforms, two business arenas that will get more focus this week when Mayer unveils her plans to the employees of Yahoo at an all-hands meeting.

Any why wouldn't they? As they work to refine their brand, their platform and their services, they have about a 2.5 years of runway to develop a competitive search product and integrate it into their service platforms. That alone would provide them with a stake at the search table, having 15% share if the Bing deal is terminated at the "5-year look."

While the Bing team continues to invest millions in their quest to remain relevant online and to drive user adoption, keep any eye on Melissa Mayer and Yahoo! as they seek to reinvent themselves and work to take back their spot at the Internet table. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll be talking about awarding Melissa Mayer, Executive of the Year.