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On Yahoo’s new home page, users can check e-mail from other providers — and it’s possible that flexibility could extend to search too. During an update on the status of the home page, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) senior director Burke Culligan told analysts that the company was not opposed to letting users replace Yahoo search with Microsoft’s Bing or even Google (NSDQ: GOOG). “Right now, we’re not doing that but long-term that may not be out of the question,” he said in response to a question. “We want to provide the best experience for the user and, in some way, if that was the best experience for the user we might be open to that.”
Allowing third-party search engines access to the Yahoo home page would be by far the most far-reaching implementation of the company’s “open” strategy. It also might not sit so well in Redmond if Yahoo’s search advertising partnership with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) goes through. The deal, after all, specifies that Microsoft’s Bing will “be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo sites.”
But while Microsoft will provide its search API to Yahoo, Yahoo will still control the user experience on its search engine. Thus, it’s possible that Yahoo could at least give users the option to search on the home page using its user interface or that of Bing.