Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL to Form New Ad Alliance: Rumor

Dennis Faas's picture

Google's been the top search engine for a long, long time now and that means it rakes in the most cash when it comes to online advertising.

Several years ago its main competition in this arena had been Microsoft, Yahoo and America Online (AOL), all of which had their own, relatively successful search engines to offer. But Yahoo and AOL have fallen on hard times of late, and in a bid to re-establish themselves both have turned to Microsoft for help.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), all three companies are nearing a deal that would see advertising shared across their websites.

For instance, advertisements for the Bing search engine could be found on AOL. The WSJ says the three firms have been engaged in frequent talks with each other as well as major advertising agencies, including the Omnicom Group, WPP, and Publicis Groupe.

Yahoo, Microsoft Hush on Deal

For their part, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL are remaining fairly quiet on the rumor, though each offered responses of varying ambiguousness.

A Yahoo spokesperson told the WSJ that it has "longstanding relationships with AOL and Microsoft and will continue to partner and compete in the years to come," adding: "At Yahoo, we're fortunate to have deep, longstanding relationships with brands, publishers and agencies, and are working on dynamic and innovative ways to put value where value is due." (Source:

Meanwhile, Microsoft was only slightly less vague. A spokeswoman for that firm told the WSJ that the Redmond-based firm is "always looking for ways to partner with others in the digital advertising ecosystem to offer innovative solutions that benefit advertisers and publishers."

Analysts Believe Deal Done

Analysts at CNN believe that, despite their tip-toeing around the subject, all three companies are getting ready to unveil the deal. And why not? Both Yahoo and AOL are in such dire straits that this kind of a relationship can only help their flagging online ad businesses, while Microsoft -- after an early surge -- has seen Bing's popularity taper off a bit of late. (Source:

If any or all of these firms are ever going to challenge Google again, it's clear they'll need to work together.

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