Summary:

Looks like Steve Ballmer’s pot-stirring about a potential Microsoft-*Yahoo* search deal did the trick: *Yahoo* CFO Blake Jorgensen told atte…

imageLooks like Steve Ballmer’s pot-stirring about a potential Microsoft-*Yahoo* search deal did the trick: *Yahoo* CFO Blake Jorgensen told attendees at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference that the company “wasn’t opposed” to some sort of search-advertising deal with its rival — “be it a partnership or a sale” (via MarketWatch). But Jorgensen cautioned that working out a deal would be more complex than outsiders think, and that Yahoo’s ability to retain the key data on searchers — stats like click-through rates and keywords — would have to be kept intact.

This shift to a more moderate “consideration” of a Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) deal is a bit of a departure from CEO Carol Bartz’s recent statements that Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) wasn’t actively pursuing a partnership. And it’s reminiscent of the flurry of back-and-forth comments between the companies last year over a possible deal. It could also be yet another sign of the lack of clear, strategic direction that was a hallmark of the Yang days–but it could also be a negotiating ploy, as Yahoo has picked up some key momentum recently: the company’s Q4 search revenues held up, and it has actually been gaining incremental search market share for the past six months. Still, I doubt anyone is holding their breath for a quick resolution to this …

Photo Credit: Yodel Anecdotal

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