The behind-the-scenes work between Microsoft and Yahoo to realize the terms of their ad/sales partnership is moving ahead on schedule, according to Yahoo execs.
In May, the pair provided an update on their plans -- which include Microsoft serving up Bing results on Yahoo Web searches and Yahoo becoming the lead online sales agent for the twosome. At that time, officials from the companies noted that the goal was to transition ad customers from Yahoo's Panama platform to Microsoft's adCenter before the start of the holiday 2010 season. If that looked impossible or unlikely, the timetable for the transition would be pushed back until after the lucrative holiday season, execs said.
On June 21, Yahoo officials provided a second update on the progress via a post to the Yahoo Search Marketing blog. From that post, it seems as though the transition is looking like it will happen this year. According to Yahoo officials:
"Our goal continues to be the completion of the transition in the U.S. and Canada before the start of the 2010 holiday season. In late summer, we intend to offer a window of several weeks during which you can choose the time to initiate and complete your transition. Of course, we will continue to keep you informed and aware of any changes that you may need to make to prepare your Sponsored Search account for the transition."
In other search/advertising news, Microsoft is on tap to share details about more of its Bing 'spring' updates this evening (June 22) in Los Angeles. Microsoft is expected to show off new features that will improve Bing's ability to search for entertainment-related content (especially music, TV, movies and online games) at an event hosted by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
Entertainment is one of the four key vertical markets (with the other three being health, travel and shopping) where Microsoft has focused most of its Bing work because it is the content for which users perform the most queries, according to Microsoft's data.
Update: Microsoft also has just updated its Bing for iPhone app, as of June 22, according to a post to the Bing Community blog, by adding integration of Facebook/Twitter status updates to it, among a couple of other new features.