After months of rumours swirling about potential changes in their working relationship, Yahoo and Bing have announced an amendment to their existing search relationship. Under the newly revised terms of their partnership, the basic framework of their original deal will remain in place with the major change being the increased autonomy that both parties will now have.
This increased freedom will be felt more keenly by Yahoo than Bing, as it now frees them from having to carry Bing’s adverts on its desktop platform as it had to do in the past. Now, only just over half of its traffic needs to carry Bing ads, with the rest Yahoo is free to do and sell as it pleases, something that it is surely hoping to influence an increase in the usage of its Gemini advertising platform.
One other possibility that these renegotiations open up for Yahoo is it partnering up with another company to make the most of this newly freed up advertising space. The most likely partner in this case would be Google, who have expressed interest in the past, most notably in wanting to be Yahoo’s partner originally before a deal was struck with Microsoft. But as of yet, of course, all this is just speculation.
The one thing that we can be sure about with the deal though, is that the new structure fits in with exactly what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her Microsoft counterpart Satya Nadella want in terms of their commercial vision for their companies. Both were working under a deal agreed by their predecessors and both have made no secret of their desire to make changes to the terms they inherited. Now that this has been done, we can expect plans that both companies will have had on the backburner to come to the fore.
It is certainly an interesting time for both companies as they continue to work to emerge from the enormous shadow cast on the search world by Google. It will be particularly interesting to track the trajectory of the Gemini platform and see whether it can have the kind of impact on advertising that Yahoo wants it to.