Yahoo and Microsoft Cleared to Take Relationship to the Next Level

Yahoo is now approved to be buddies with Microsoft.

More than two full years after Microsoft (s MSFT) offered to buy Yahoo (s YHOO) for $31 per share, the two companies have gotten approval from the U.S. and the EU to proceed with a long-term partnership. They jointly announced today that they “will now turn their attention to beginning the process of implementing the deal.” Wow, that’s one version of moving at Internet speed!

The deal, in case you dozed off, means that Bing will power some of Yahoo search and Yahoo will sell premium search advertising for both companies (Microsoft is paying Yahoo $50 million for the next three years to make the transition). It’s intended to help the two companies compete with Google (s GOOG), though it’s hard to imagine those two changes will shift either one out of “also-ran” status.

Though the deal is a concession on Yahoo’s part of the search business, the company has lately made efforts to draw attention to the improvements it will continue to make around search user interface — see our coverage of a recent press event on Yahoo search.

Microsoft and Yahoo said they are still working to gain approval from regulators in Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

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