Blogs were a buzz on Friday after speculation surfaced that IAC/InterActiveCorp (Ask.com’s parent company) were planning on dumping Teoma, the Ask.com’s search engine, in favor of Google’s search results.
The rumors first appeared via Peter Kafka’s post on Silicon Valley Insider, where he shared this comment from an apparent “insider”:
There is indeed a big shakeup coming. A new Ask. Some think a reduction in workforce is likely. There are no sacred cows, Teoma may be sold or simply abandoned which is hundreds of engineers who work on the core search engine, in place of just using Google’s search with our special brand of user interface.
With the rumors believed to be the cause of a 7% decline in IAC’s share price on Friday, the search world waited with bated breath for confirmation from the IAC ranks on the speculation.
Alas, it was not forthcoming. In fact, the opposite happened, with a source close to the matter reporting to Reuters that the blog report was “incorrect”.
Silicon Valley Insider was quick with their “right of reply” suggesting that if the rumors were incorrect, that Ask.com should consider dumping Teoma nonetheless. And given that the all speculation thus far has been from undisclosed “sources”, SVI added the following quip to their update post:
Not clear whether IAC has finally reached a decision on Teoma or whether our source has fresher information (or is hallucinating).
Given the time and money Ask.com has invested in its search technology, it would be a surprising move to dump Teoma now. That said, all Ask’s re-engineering and marketing still hasn’t bridged the gap between the former Search Engine Butler and Google.
Perhaps it’s a case of cutting costs – and conceding “if you can’t beat em, join em”.