MSFT-YHOO Deal is on: EU grants approval, implementation to begin

The European Union granted approval today for the Microsoft deal to purchase Yahoo!’s search business, and in a press release, Yahoo! announced that “implementation of the deal is expected to begin in the coming days”.  From the press release:

Yahoo! and Microsoft will work with advertisers, publishers and developers on a customized plan designed to make the transition as efficient and seamless as possible. Both companies will begin working closely with most partners well in advance of their planned transition to the Microsoft platform and will communicate important information to partners about the transition periodically via phone, email, webinars and a newly created website at www.searchalliance.com.

The companies will begin the transition of algorithmic search and have set a goal of completing that effort in at least the United States by the end of 2010. The companies also hope to make significant progress transitioning U.S. advertisers and publishers prior to the 2010 holiday season, but may wait until 2011 if they determine that the transition will be more effective after the holiday season. All global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.

Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz is quoted in the press release on what the deal will mean for Yahoo!:

"This breakthrough search alliance means Yahoo! can focus even more on our own innovative search experience, Yahoo! gets to do what we do best: combine our science and technology with compelling content to build personally relevant online experiences for our users and customers."

Here’s the Yahoo! blog post on the deal, with a bit more explanation.