During the reign of Jerry Yang, Yahoo! was against a Microsoft acquisition, however now that Carol “Hurricane” Bartz is whizzing around the company and shaking things up, the company could be back in the ring for another kind of Microsoft deal.
AllThingsD reports, citing several sources with knowledge of the situation, that Bartz and Steve Ballmer are in talks that could see the two companies collaborate in search and advertising partnerships.
The news brings back memories of both a failed Yahoo!/Microsoft merger as well as a failed advertising deal between Yahoo! and search leader Google. Kara Swisher at AllThingsD says that the two CEOs are in preliminary and wide-ranging discussions focused on what kind of commercial relationship Yahoo and Microsoft could have in the future. While the sources told Kara that the talks do not stretch to a renewed acquisition offer from Microsoft, it also says that Carol and Steve may decide against any kind of deal at all.
Yahoo! and Google last year penned an advertising deal which fell through following scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice. When the deal was being investigated, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company believed that a lot of the drama surrounding the antitrust investigation stemmed from Microsoft, which was apparently “busy helping everyone get upset about these things.”
If true, kudos to Microsoft for getting what they want: Google out of the way so it can slip in and sign an ad deal of its own.