Yahoo is reportedly moving closer toward outsourcing search to Google in a move designed to gain leverage in any talks with Microsoft. Let's be clear: This story was leaked to the Wall Street Journal because Yahoo is likely to meet with Microsoft again soon.
According to the Wall Street Journal (Techmeme), Yahoo found that its limited test with Google went just swell. So swell that Yahoo may increase the amount of inventory it allows Google to use. Yahoo and Google teamed up on April 9. The Journal story cited people familiar with the matter. Translation: That's Yahoo.
Yes, the Yahoo-Google test only lasted a few days and it's unclear whether the results of these tests were some magic elixir, but that's not the point. Yahoo is squeezing a lovelorn Microsoft, which is offering $31 a share for the portal. And Google is more than happy to play spoiler.
Antitrust concerns about a Google-Yahoo search deal? No need to worry about that--yet. Meanwhile, this Google partnership plays well with AOL, which could wind up merging with Yahoo somehow. Actually that AOL deal isn't as dumb as it may appear.
In any case, it's no coincidence that Yahoo and Google have finally found love. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued his ultimatum almost two full weeks ago. The clock is ticking and closure has to come soon.