First things first: if you currently do no business with Bing and Yahoo! and don’t intend to in the oncoming future – if you use Google for adSense and and have little involvement with Microsoft’s adCenter – then the merge between Bing and Yahoo! will mean very little to you on a personal level. Market shares will fluctuate (it’s expected that Microsoft and Yahoo! will soon be able to lay claim to 28% of the market), and it’s likely that we’ll see Google try a move to outpace the competition, but you can expect for the merge to happen very quietly if you’re not already playing their game.
What will change is how Yahoo!/Bing handles your advertising needs on the back end. The plan the two agreed on was that Yahoo! would manage the bigger companies and Bing will deal with providing algorithms for the smaller guys, giving Yahoo! the opportunity to spend more time on making its search experience (which will run on Bing’s platform. Confused yet? Bing is set to pick up 3x the search queries it currently holds.) even more “innovative” than ever before.
As Carol Bartz, Yahoo!’s CEO, explains, “Yahoo! gets to do what it does best: combine its science and technology with compelling content to build personally relevant online experiences for its users and customers.”
Sounds good, Carol, but in terms of the search market, there’s only thing that matters, and that’s the final score. Google still trounces Yahoo! and Bing, and while the merge will make that difference a little less drastic, it’s still a long time before this race is actually something to keep an eye on.