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Yahoo Rejects Microsoft Search Offer 129

mytrip writes to mention a Financial Times article detailing Microsoft's apparent interest in Yahoo!, and Yahoo!'s rude reaction to their interest. From the article: "The fight is on between the three internet search titans, after Yahoo's Terry Semel laid down the gauntlet to Microsoft saying the software giant's recently elevated ambitions in the search arena were a lost cause. 'My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance. The search business has been formed,' he said in an interview with the New Yorker's Ken Auletta."
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Yahoo Rejects Microsoft Search Offer

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  • Google? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by biocute ( 936687 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:35AM (#15324177) Homepage
    "The search business has been formed", that was what I heard when Yahoo was teh king, and guess who came in and took over the search business?
    • Re:Google? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Saturday May 13, 2006 @07:19AM (#15324250)
      The only problem was Yahoo was the king before it became king before the Internet became common place .
      First you take an idea that someone else made and mature it.
      You become the King until the market stabilizes.
      Then someone else takes your place for the stable market.

      It is not fair but that is the way it seems to go.

      Like GUI OS's
      Xerox made the GUI Interface.
      Apple took the idea and matured it.
      Apple becomes the king of GUI
      Then Microsoft comes and takes your ideas and wins for the stable GUI market.

      It is not always about quality it is just about having the charm to get most people to use it over something else.
      Like Google seemed to load a little faster then Yahoo so people with dial-ups used it more. And when the internet became common place and mature a lot of people were still using dialup.
      • Re:Google? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LegendLength ( 231553 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <htgneldnegel>> on Saturday May 13, 2006 @08:59AM (#15324424)
        The only problem was Yahoo was the king before the Internet became common place .

        No I reckon their biggest problem was the amount of crap on their front page.
        • http://search.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com]

          Exists since '98 (archive.org)

          Also moronic, lame people like me called "end users" or "90% of customer profile" actually uses that "crap" such as news, mail notification,custom alerts.

          That is a working thing so they won't break it. That place is the Web"s NUMBER ONE site.

          live with it,sorry
          • Yup. search.yahoo.com has been around since December 12, 1998 [archive.org].

            Google, on the other hand, made it's first appearance on December 2, 1998 [archive.org].

            Hm.
        • The biggest problem with Yahoo is that their Search Engine is so "commercialized" that their search isn't an "search" anymore, it's full of paid per click ads.
          • really? try both yahoo and google search on something
            commercial, like "dog food". results are about the same.

            now try something less so, like "ovshinsky", which elicits
            no sidebar ads. yup, about the same.
        • The only problem was Yahoo was the king before the Internet became common place .

          No I reckon their biggest problem was the amount of crap on their front page.


          I stopped using yahoo as soon as a Flash version of Britney promoting Pepsi started dancing across my screen. I can't remember the exact year, but I think it was around 2000. The damn ad would actually *obscure* the search box!!!
      • Google actually shopped around for years trying to license or sell their search algorithms before giving up and foolishly (most said at the time) trying to establish their own brand in the saturated search market.

        That said, I don't think generalizations should be drawn from google. It's a one-in-a-million case where the underlying technology actually trumped everything else, and a good algorithm made its inventors super rich. How often does that happen? Almost never. All your examples are about exactl

    • No one ever took over the search business from Yahoo, to my knowledge, since Yahoo had no pure search business. Prior to their own technology I believe Yahoo always outsourced. Inktomi and Google in that order. I don't recall what they did before Inktomi, if anything.


    • Eh, no, the market wasn't formed.

      The sign of an unformed market is customers groaning. The sign of a formed market is when the customers sigh in contentment.

      Does nobody else remember how frickin' useless search engines were before Google?
  • by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:36AM (#15324180)
    "famous last words"

    And I'm not sure who I dislike more at this point.

    At least Microsoft hasn't been handing political prisoners over to the Chinese government [slashdot.org].
  • by Irish_Samurai ( 224931 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:37AM (#15324187)
    "My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance. The search business has been formed,"

    I dunno, that sounds similar to the boasts made by almost every large company head right before they get their ass handed to them by someone.
  • I hate Yahoo search, I REALLY hate MSN search... If they had combined I may have spontaneously combusted from the new, dangerously high levels of hatred coursing through my veins. That was close.
    • Why do you hate Yahoo search so much?
      • Re:So let's see... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hadlock ( 143607 )
        For me, personally, it's that I can run a particular search query, and if I don't get the exact results I'm looking for, I know how to tweak it so that google will give me the results I need. I could spend 15 minutes on yahoo tweaking search strings to get the exact page/nugget of info, but Google and I are old friends, he knows exactly what I want, if not the first time, than the second. Yahoo or MSN is often times like asking the crazy guy on the corner for directions to the super market. You'll get the g
    • I hate Yahoo search, I REALLY hate MSN search... If they had combined I may have spontaneously combusted from the new, dangerously high levels of hatred coursing through my veins. That was close.

      I don't know, YaMShooN has got kind of a ring to it.

  • by terrahertz ( 911030 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:40AM (#15324192)
    MS Rep: Hey baby, how 'bout lettin' big daddy in on a piece o' that action?
    Y! Rep: Oh no you dit'in! Oh no you dit'in! (gesticulates the talk-to-the-hand)
  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nagora ( 177841 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:43AM (#15324197)
    It may be that Yahoo's search engine is better than MS's (just as a kick in the balls is better than being shot in the head) but to say that the world's richest company has no chance in any field just shows that the speaker is an idiot.

    TWW

    • I listed to the hour long talk yesterday, consider what he actually says is:

      - Yahoo wasn't in the search business before google (they used outsourced providers and have only recently bought / brought "search" in-house)

      - There are (presumably) reasonably large fixed costs to search (ie: database of the entire internet)

      - MSN is at a *stable* distant third place (~15% market share) even with all their inherent microsofty advantages

      - MSN have no stable base of advertisers (to hel
  • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:44AM (#15324199)
    Be very afraid. One thing that sets Microsoft apart from many of its competitors is persistence when it comes to products and technologies that are important to Microsoft's core business. Add to that the fact that MS has a huge multi-billion $$ war chest and their dominant position in the operating systems and web browsers and you see that they have not only the will but also the resources to be persistent. This battle won't be over any time soon.
    • That's probably true. But I can't help but thinking that unlike every other problem Microsoft has dealt with, search is different.

      Search is hard.

      Look at every other product that Microsoft made. It doesn't really require any genius-level intuition to solve or anything like that. It's ordinary, straightforward implementations that are being done. Back in the day it would have taken a genius, but Microsoft got to borrow ideas that have been published by other people. Further, they don't even do it well. Their primary concern is getting it done and filling it with lots of features. That's not going to work for search.

      I would put it to you that it is very difficult to come up with a way of doing something that works well when the thing you want to do is hard, and that, in general, throwing money at it doesn't help.

      If you are to prove to me that Microsoft's giagantinormous size is going to do it for them, then tell me about their track-record of genius.
      • That's not going to work for search.

        Sure it is! Remember, 'disk compression was hard' in it's time, too. So have a lot of 'solved problem' tasks that are now now surmounted.
        • Read my comment. Third paragraph, third sentence.

          Back in the day it would have taken a genius, but Microsoft got to borrow ideas that have been published by other people.

          No one's published how Google is doing search. It's a trade secret. It won't be hard the moment that they do.
          • Bad news, dude. It's not at all hard to work backwards from the Google or Yahoo results to figure out what they're doing -- it's just tedious. You can't buy "hard", but you can buy "tedious". Microsoft is really, really good at tedious.
            • Re:RTFC (Score:3, Interesting)

              by joeykiller ( 119489 )
              You might say Microsoft's good at tedious, but you have to hand it to them: This time they're really trying something new. Where the other search engines tries to achieve quality and relevance trough variations of link cardinality, anchor text, page rank (how many and how highly valued pages links to a page), etc., Microsoft's trying neural networks and some kind of "artificial intelligence".

              So far MSN Search/Windows Live Search is worst of the three big players when it comes to relevance. But they're not
        • True, but disk compression never had to deal with applications that were written specifically to change the compression rate of certain files... I mean, you can always write better compression software, but what that software is working on is not actively trying to skew results either way, if you get my drift.
        • You seem to have forgotten Microsoft's 'solution' to disk compression. They ripped-off Stak's code. Got caught and paid for it, too. I doubt Google will give them the same opportunity.
      • I actually disagree with the premise that "search is hard". Search at its core is exceedingly simple. Scaling this can get a bit tricky, but that has really already been solved by all current major search engines. The hard part I assume you mean is the filtering and ranking of results. Even that isn't some magic vodoo anymore. There are many well known tools accomplishing this. From from more complex topics like Bayesian filtering, to simple use of web statistics, and even "trust measures" (if the New
        • Scaling this can get a bit tricky, but that has really already been solved by all current major search engines.

          And here is the premise with which we disagree.

          Google does a good job, but it's difficult to find what you're looking for in any of the other major search engines.

          And I'm positive you can't get results like theirs with simple bayesian filtering.

          What you don't seem to be grasping is that search is artificial intelligence. It's saying "given these search parameters, what am I REALLY looking to find?
          • Here are a list of the 8 top results for "explosive materials" on each of the three big guys (google, live (MSN), yahoo (if I say "NA" it means it wasn't amoung the top 8):

            www.isis-online.org/ (6 on google, 6 on live, 3 and 4 on yahoo (since they put pages from same domain as seperate entry)

            en.wikipedia.org (1 on google, 1 on yahoo, NA on live (they really do need to give much more priority to wikipedia as it is now so useful)

            www.space-rockets.com (4 on google, 1 on live, NA on yahoo)

            remtc.com/ (5 on
        • I could probably switch to Yahoo or MSN search tomorrow and not really notice the difference.

          You'll look long and hard for a slow-loading Google page. I suppose you could bloat your own. You won't find even PNGs, let alone blinking banners or flash. What happens when you follow that nice "More..." button on MSN and Yahoo? After Google, theirs just seem lame. Got a box that will run Google Earth? Google do awe-inspiring things and give them away. Sure they're going to make money. That's how they s

          • You'll look long and hard for a slow-loading Google page. I suppose you could bloat your own. You won't find even PNGs, let alone blinking banners or flash.

            Check out these if you haven't for awhile MSN [msn.com] and Yahoo [yahoo.com]. I don't think you'll see anything like your talking about.

            I certainly love Google and thier practices, but I was just speaking about search technology and how they are basically identical (see my post to reply just before yours).

            BTW, don't talk about Google Earth like that, your just asking f
            • Whoops. I've seen the other MSN bloatware, didn't actually check the search page. My bad.

              I didn't address the search result quality because others had already done that. I agree they're often comparable, but Google is IMTrulyHO better at filtering out the crap.

              Terraserver afaict doesn't do what Earth does. You tried it? That 3D flying thing is utterly cool, and it has global coverage. It's not at all hard to get a LEO view at 768K (you might have to do it slow if you want all the detail, but still)

        • I actually disagree with the premise that "search is hard". Search at its core is exceedingly simple. Scaling this can get a bit tricky, but that has really already been solved by all current major search engines.

          Search is quite hard as the engine has not only to interpret what the user is asking, but also interpret what the pages are trying to convey - thus, as fireboy1919 [slashdot.org] pointed out - it is very much AI, and a very problematic one at that.

          Search would be a lot easier if we had linguistic AI's alread

    • Add to that the fact that MS has a huge multi-billion $$ war chest and their dominant position in the operating systems and web browsers and you see that they have not only the will but also the resources to be persistent

      Thats exactly why Yahoo have decided not to do a deal with Microsoft at this time. Any search engine with a significant share of the market will see whats happened to Microsoft "partners" in the past. If MS get a foothold, next step for them will be to use their desktop leverage, partne

    • MS has made a big deal about how they are going to invest in R&D but just like any IT related industry the day for absorbing customer attraction is over. Google has made its money, now they are big and successful and there isnt a damn thing MS can do about it.

      Just like the fact the general market has chosen to use Windows the general market has chosen Google to search with. It doesnt really matter if you have a MSN search tool in the corner of your address bar because at the end of the day even myself w
    • Monitoring the search engines crawling my site, Yahoo Slurp is clearly the most aggressive now. This is backed up here: http://drunkmenworkhere.org/219 [drunkmenworkhere.org]

      Their results are getting better all the time. In a time where Google is having troubles staying up to date and MSN search is still lacking, it seems the others must be afraid. The newest public sign of results can be seen on http://www.alltheweb.com/ [alltheweb.com] with the Yahoo powered Live search.

      I'm not applauding them nor affiliated with them, all I'm saying is tha

      • I really enjoyed the crawl analysis on drunkmenworkhere.org (and lots of Googlers enjoyed reading it), but I wouldn't necessarily agree that Slurp is the deepest crawling in the general case. In the case of a (mostly) empty website with a huge binary tree under it, quite a few of my colleagues would argue that it's good to have some pages from the tree, but that you don't want to have too many. Most of the pages were pretty empty other than the spambot comments, so you could argue that it might be better t
    • I don't even really look at Yahoo as a search engine anymore. Back when I had SBC as my internet provider, they were the content provider of choice for SBC. I suppose that's when my view of them started to change.

      Other things like Launchcast, albeit Windows-only, only reinforce that view.

      Obviously there's a search engine behind it to bring it all together, but I honestly see them as more a content provider.

    • Be very afraid. One thing that sets Microsoft apart from many of its competitors is persistence when it comes to products and technologies that are important to Microsoft's core business. Add to that the fact that MS has a huge multi-billion $$ war chest and their dominant position in the operating systems and web browsers and you see that they have not only the will but also the resources to be persistent. This battle won't be over any time soon.

      M$ had the will and bottomless resources to acquire Intuit

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:48AM (#15324206)
    don't see what Yahoo really has to gain with MSN? I like google so I use it. My Girl Friend prefers Yahoo. And I am sure someone out there prefers MSN. But most of the sites they all have. If I find one search method is becoming to tedious then I use an other one. Combining Yahoo and MSN would hurt Yahoo. First there is the people who just don't use MS. Stuff when possible which would be around 10% of the population (Figuring most Linux users and Apple users alternative OS users, and windows users who are afraid of Microsoft dominance but only know windows. ). Yahoo will need to split their advertising dollars with MS. Any software improvements probably wont affect the bottom line. And it will do nothing against Google. Google is a verb in the english language now. When the company branding becomes imbedded in the culture it is difficult to change it. Like Jello and Kleenex other companies can sell similar products but the culture still thinks of the brand name. Going with Yahoo will only benefit MS. And at best Yahoo will loose nothing, but in reality yahoo my loose more.
    • Girlfriend? You're obviously lying.
    • "Google" and "Googling for it" has become part of everyday culture which I didnt really think about until recently when a (non techie) friend of mine got a computer for the first time and has only just had exposure to the internet but one of the first places she went was Google with IE so it was not even the default Firefox homepage. First computer, never been online...went straight to google. you really have to admire that level of mindshare google has acheived in society.
  • by SirFozzie ( 442268 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:49AM (#15324207)
    A non-standard precipitation warning has been issued for the Redmond, WA area, as it is expected to be raining chairs for the next few days, or until Steve Ballmer runs out of furniture..
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @06:54AM (#15324215) Journal
    The only search engine with less traffic than Microsoft's is AOL's, and a number of more obscure ones.

    Yahoo is receiving more than twice their traffic, and likely ad revenue potential as well.

    There'd be a lot to win for Microsoft if joining forces with Yahoo, but I'm not sure Yahoo would sacrifice their image. If their managers have any sense, they know it's important to preserve your identity, especially if you're quite far ahead.

    This just looks like a cry for help from Microsoft's side, now that their second (?) "Google Killer" with "Live Search" (a very idiotic name too; why not "Microsoft Search"?) has probably failed just as bad as their updated MSN Search they did a few years back.
  • Homepage (Score:5, Funny)

    by therage96 ( 912259 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @07:00AM (#15324223)
    I predict this will probably appear in the news in the next few weeks.

    "And in a surprising move, Microsoft has chosen to make live.com the default homepage any new Internet Explorer installation."

    Microsoft 1, Yahoo -screwed-
    • Isn't the MSN page already the default homepage for IE?
    • Re:Homepage (Score:2, Informative)

      Why is that a problem, since the default page is already msn.com, which has a MS Search right at the top of the page?

      Should be even less of an issue, as the default firefox homepage is google.com

      Should you not also have added to your comment "Firefox 1, yahoo -screwed-"?

    • ...and a mysterious new virus has been changing the IP routing table in Windows from yahoo.com....
    • This would easily enter the antitrust end of things.

      If that happened, Yahoo! and Google just need to talk to the OEMs. Remember that most consumers buy computers, not operating systems. Yahoo! signs a deal with HP and there goes Microsoft's default homepage advantage.
  • 'My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance. The search business has been formed,'

    Because Microsoft's entire history hasn't been one of moving in to an area where other people have worked out how to do things and then doing them better/cheaper/faster.
    • Re:Familiar (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blakestah ( 91866 )
      Microsoft's business is Office and Windows. Those make a ton of $$$$.

      Microsoft loses money on almost everything else.

      Every market they've tried to move into and make money on, they've failed.

      They did pretty well against Netscape - giving away the browser seemed to kill their market completely, and thus kill Netscape. But Microsoft didn't make money on that. They lost money and killed a competitor.

      But Google has a different model. They run internet advertising on the back of the best internet search engine.
      • Every search engine was MILES behind Google. They came along, and all of a sudden you could find what you wanted.

        And I contend that the 'breakthrough' at Google was that they scaled up and captured the market. There are no 'magic google sprinklies' that have caused their success. There's no 'magick' arcana that only Google understands. There is, though, a cult of Google mysticism, and a large following of mystic worshippers of the company, but that's typical of any operating religion. This site happens
        • Well, what attracted me, and I'm sure a lot of others, to use Google, was the main page was just their name and a text box. Damn, that was sweet. No dancing animations, no freeking Flash ad anims to load, no 56 other ad images to load, no weather box, no sports box, no news box, no attempt to be Yet Another Portal Site, just a damn text entry box to search for what I wanted. Man, that was lovely to see and use. And the search results were pretty good, I didn't have a problem with them, and the presentat
          • I think that is why they are number one. They don't send any ads at some before they search, and load fast.

            Once they search, they throw unobtrusive ads at the searching user. Those are highly targetted, very valuable, ads.

            When you go to msn.com and there is a blank page with a search box, you'll know they get it.
            • I had to go look, because I don't recall what it looks like, and just compare the difference between MSN [msn.com] and Google [google.com] and the difference is like black and white, night and day, Sith and jedi, um,...anyway, the difference is obvious. Although I freely admit that it wasn't obvious maybe at first about Senator Palpatine.
          • And it was FAST! Other searches were very VERY slow at the time. Google was like a breath of fresh air...
      • Still, Microsoft could get a chunk of the market if
        1) the next IE has an MSN search box built in
        It does

        2) defaults to MSN homepage
        It does

        3) And MSN search rivals Googles in its ability to return good results
        Supposudly it's getting there, though I haven't tried it myself to say for sure.

        I agree with you. This is going to get interesting. I personally don't think Microsoft will be able to knock out Google, but as long as they have Windows and Office, Microsoft can't really lose either. They can
  • If he had googled for "dictionary impartial" he would not have made such an egregious error. ZB
  • Specialize (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 13, 2006 @07:30AM (#15324263) Homepage
    While MS might have problems breaking into a full search system, there is a ton of room for a company that can do one thing really well.

    Look at ISO Hunt. They picked an area and really cached in on it.

    My advice to MS: become the best video game search engine out there. It'd be really easy. Have a box to search and buttons to look for reviews, purchace, FAQs/walkthroughs, and cheats.

    Hell, you could pick anything. But do one thing and do it really well.
    • You can already do that using Live.com macros.
      I use it to search for product reviews and excluding the pages that are meant to sell the products.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 13, 2006 @07:47AM (#15324295)
    Terry Semel of Yahoo! corporation was found dead this morning. At this point the cause of death is being attributed to a chair leg that is still lodged deeply inside the victim's skull. Police have ruled out accidental death and are compiling a list of suspects.
    • But the real question is... what search engine were they using to find out more about the suspects?
    • Terry Semel of Yahoo! corporation was found dead this morning. At this point the cause of death is being attributed to a chair leg that is still lodged deeply inside the victim's skull. Police have ruled out accidental death and are compiling a list of suspects.

      A note was left on the body that stated "Google. This is what were going to do to you when we get though with you. We are going to fucking bury you! FUCKING BURY YOU!"

  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @08:08AM (#15324316)
    My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance,' [Yahoo's Terry Semel] said.

    When asked for comment, Google's representative, CATS, said, "Ohhh, no, no, no. All your search are belong to us."

  • Bull (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slashmojo ( 818930 )
    Bull, meet red rag..
  • Guess we know there's only one thing left for Microsoft to do... buy Google.
  • 'My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance. The search business has been formed,'

    Yeah, cuz he's got nothing to gain or lose in this battle... impartial my aunt Susie!
    • 'My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance. The search business has been formed,'

      Yeah, cuz he's got nothing to gain or lose in this battle... impartial my aunt Susie!

      Probably not so much impartial in the area of the search business, though...more likely telling Microsoft that they have no chance of partnering with Yahoo - he doesn't have to think about it, and it's not about partiality - they're just not going to do it, so Microsoft should go pester someone else...Altavista, Lycos, Ex

  • So just because Yahoo has decided they can't compete with Google and will be happy to just maintain what marketshare they have, no one else can compete with Google either? Awfully bold statement from someone who has given up.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/256748_yaho o24.html [nwsource.com]

    Yahoo! Inc., one of the first Internet search companies, has capitulated to Google Inc. in the battle for market dominance. "We don't think it's reasonable to assume we're going to gain a lot of share from Google," Chief Fi

  • This sounds familiar (Marc Andreessen).
  • Second toughest guy from bar pokes brown kodiak bear with stick.

    Second toughest guy quotes "You have no chance bear, the tough person in bar market is formed"

    Meanwhile the toughest buy in the bar is buying a shotgun and bear hunting license, and getting to a safer shooting distance.

  • I remember earlier times of XBox Sony kind of publicly warned Microsoft that "electronic device business is very different".

    I don't even dare to search news for "sony" "xbox" etc, perhaps an actual console fan/user find a link for it.

    Microsoft ignored the warning and the first story came after Xbox ships in Japan that it actually SCRATCHED a certain type of DVDs physically.
  • It would be nice to keep some sort of competition out there. With games consoles, search, tv, and everything else, I don't want to end up giving more to Microsoft in a year than I do to the government in tax!
  • Does anyone really doubt that MS can (and will) scream ahead of Yahoo in market share in the coming years? Yahoo is a relic of the early interent, with little innovation on its side. Google is a whole other affair, where I don't see MS winning. At least not unless they do much something better than their live site.
    • Does anyone really doubt that MS can (and will) scream ahead of Yahoo in market share in the coming years?

      Yes. I live down the street from their new office in Santa Monica. They're competing well with Google on recruiting the sharpest people from other regional employers. Including three of my new neighbors who recently moved down here from Seattle.

      Google isn't the only one successfully recruiting hot-shit developers from MS.

      Regards,
      Ross
  • by Britz ( 170620 )
    As soon as MSN search produces somewhat usefull results (and now they do) they will have at least 50% market share among systems that have MSN search on default.

    Personal estimate, wait for 2 years and see for yourself.
  • Digg [digg.com] mentions a video interview [toprankblog.com] with Yahoo!'s CEO, Terry Semel. One of the topics was mentioned about this MS and search (e.g., no room in search market for MS, etc.).

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