It would appear there is trouble in paradise for Yahoo! and Microsoft with news that the two companies have been tied up in a quiet legal battle about rolling out Microsoft’s Bing search technology on Yahoo in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
These two markets are the last of 16 included in the deal between the 2 tech giants. The implementation was supposed to happen this month, but Yahoo! has some reservations. It is uncertain about the direction the alliance is going to go in under new leadership at Microsoft, and wants to hold off until it determines that the next CEO is dedicated to the partnership.
“If we decide a new CEO has the same commitment that Steve Ballmer had, then we will go forward with the transition,” Yahoo senior vice president of search products Laurie Mann is quoted as testifying in the court filings, according to Reuters.
Here’s Microsoft’s take on the legal proceedings in an official statement from the company:
We had a narrow disagreement regarding the Search Alliance rollout in Hong Kong and Taiwan. We have unwavering plans to continue investing in the Search Alliance, now operating in more than 20 countries, and the Bing platform, which is central to our latest products.
Yahoo’s concern is justified – the partnership hasn’t delivered the increased revenue or market share that was expected. In August, Google was shown as having 67% of the market share, while Microsoft had 17.9% and Yahoo had 11.3%. Even though Microsoft and Yahoo have been working to up their market share over the last few years, they have pretty much just maintained the status quo.
However, Yahoo can worry all it likes, its still not going to stop the transition going ahead. US District Judge Robert Patterson Jr. ruled on Monday that Yahoo must transition to Microsoft’s search technology in Taiwan and Hong Kong as outlined by the deal.