Microsoft and Yahoo have received clearance from regulators in the U.S. and EU to proceed with their search agreement. Now the real fun---integrating people, technology and processes---begins.
- Transition Yahoo's paid search and algorithm platforms to Microsoft;
- Yahoo becomes sales force for premium search advertisers of both companies;
- Move people, systems and processes around as needed;
- Innovate, monetize better and get more scale to compete with Google;
- And do it in a way where Yahoo search users won't notice much and flee to Google.
In a blog post, Yahoo outlined what the user will see (hopefully not much different):
Managing the user disruption is probably the easy part. Dealing with partners is where the revenue risk lies.
Folks, this is a big project. The companies hope to have the integration complete in the U.S. by the end of the year. Meanwhile, advertisers and publishers are expected to be migrated over before the 2010 fourth quarter holiday push. That deadline could slip to 2011. All customers globally will be transitioned to Microsoft's platform by early 2012.
Will these two be all smiles after the systems integration?
As noted previously, implementing this partnership has three primary hurdles:
- Data sharing processes;
- Systems integration;
- And culture.
To hear Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tell it the partnership is all about innovation and focus.
The rub: Big projects like this can take away both the innovation and the focus and given the timelines proposed by Microsoft and Yahoo there isn't much room for slippage.
The challenge for Bartz and Ballmer: Avoid the inevitable distractions that are going to arise and execute the plan.
Microsoft and Yahoo have a pretty well thought out plan. The aim for both parties is to migrate advertisers, publishers and developers. One wrinkle to note: Microsoft and Yahoo said that they will work with big partners on a customized migration plan. Customization takes time and can lead to complications. Bottom line: Congrats to Yahoo and Microsoft for getting approval from regulators. What happens in the months ahead will determine the success of Microhoo.