It appears that the search and online advertising merger between MSN/Bing and Yahoo will finally happen. According to a report from All Things Digital, the announcement could come within the next couple of weeks.
MSN initially tried to acquire Yahoo in February 2008, but talks faded. At the time, Yahoo was taking search and advertising dollars from MSN. MSN announced in November that they would not seek a merger with Yahoo but they were still open to an online search collaboration.
Since that time, MSN has launched Bing - the new "decision engine" that replaced Live - which went live in the beginning of June. MSN has an approximately $80 million ad budget behind the launch of the Bing, and it appears to be providing some initial dividends.
According to comScore, Microsoft increased its search engine share by 0.4% in the month of June to increase their total share of search engine to 8.4%. Google maintains a 65% search engine share while Yahoo was second at 19.6%. Google and Yahoo both saw search engine traffic drop 2% and 4% respectively. MSN search results, however, increased 3%.
A merger between MSN/Bing and Yahoo, therefore, would give the joint venture 28% of the total search engine market share - approximately a third of Google search. The merger would also help improve the advertising efficiencies between the two. MSN demographics skew toward the older audience segment, while Yahoo skews toward the younger audience segment. As an advertising medium, that could help the pairing capitalize on being able to provide both demographics to advertisers.
As the merger looks closer and closer to becoming final, our only question is what will they call the new venture - Bingo?