Microsoft-Yahoo changes behind the scenes

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Although Yahoo and Microsoft could soon be uniting on Internet searches, their collaboration would mostly be behind the scenes.

Consumers would still see Yahoo's logo stripped across Yahoo.com. The only nod to Microsoft would appear when a user gets results from a Web search. At the bottom of the page, Bing, Microsoft's search engine, will get credit for providing the results.

While it handles search requests at Yahoo, Bing would still be fielding queries at MSN.com, Bing.com and other Web sites owned by Microsoft. And nothing figures to change in the way Microsoft accepts search requests from cell phones and "toolbars" added to Web browsers.

The Yahoo-Microsoft deal aligns two of the Internet's most powerful players in an attempt to take search kingpin Google down a notch or two. AOL has been depending on Google for both its search results and search advertising for years. When their contract expires in December 2010, Microsoft is expected to bid aggressively against Google to provide the search engine on AOL.

Why all the competition? Because advertisers bid for the right to show their ads alongside certain search terms. The marketers pay the search engines when a user clicks on an ad. That means Microsoft and Google are trying to make the audiences for their search engines as vast as possible.

YAHOO SHARES TAKE DIVE

REDMOND, Wash. --- Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer is trying to improve the bad feeling Yahoo Inc. investors have about the companies' partnership.

Yahoo's shares plummeted 12 percent Wednesday after the deal was announced, and they continued dropping Thursday, ending 4 percent lower at $14.60.

Mr. Ballmer said he doesn't understand why. Yahoo investors should be pleased that the deal erases Yahoo's search costs and lets it keep 88 percent of the revenue from advertising sold with search results on its Web site, he said.

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