The on-again, off-again Microsoft-Yahoo search deal seems to be on again, and once again headed straight for the finish line, possibly within the next week
All Things D's Kara Swisher reports that top Microsoft executives -- including SVP of the Online Audience Business Group Yusuf Mehdi, search head Satya Nadella and top digital exec Qi Lu -- have flown down to Silicon Valley from Redmond, Wash. to iron out the remaining issues.
Those remaining issues are anyone's guess. Swisher reports that the terms of the latest deal could include Microsoft paying Yahoo several billion dollars to take over its search advertising business and guarantee certain payments back to Yahoo. A display advertising piece could have Yahoo take the lead in selling premium advertising for the companies, too.
While Bill Tancer, GM of global research at Hitwise, says he will not hold his breath until the deal gets signed, he did analyze the details to get a better look at what it might provide for advertisers. "In the past, the three major engines had very different demographic make-ups," he writes in blog post. But that gap has recently closed between Yahoo and Microsoft. "When comparing Bing to Yahoo! Search there appears to be a closer demographic fit which should yield more search advertising sales efficiencies."
When Online Media Daily asked Microsoft to spill the beans on how close a deal may be, a Microsoft spokesman said, "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."