The latest news buzz is MSN’s proposed talks with Yahoo for a buyout or M&A. This would be a very interesting takeover, as the combined searches of MSN and Yahoo would be 33% of all online searches and Google would still lead with 49%, according to a Nielsen Net Ratings April 2006 report. This would make the search margins closer and a strategic deal with other search providers could even out MSN and Google should this happen.
Should MSN make this deal, one more strategic move could put them on an equal playing field, plus all the media attention would give Google a more even battle.
The biggest deal in this case would be MSN’s loss to acquire AOL as a search partner. Because of Google’s search partners it gained AOLs 10% of the industry searches, making the actual number of searches from the Google search engine amount 39% to 40%, but we have no data from Nielsen as to what Google’s other search partners actually add to Google’s search dominance.
The gain of A9 (Amazon.com’s Search Portal) and Alexa is still only a small percentage of online searches.
We’ll have to watch with anticipation as to MSN’s next moves at trying to battle head to head with Google.