Questions not answered on Microsoft / Yahoo deal

dunceDespite the large amount of text coming from Yahoo about its ten-year search deal with Microsoft, there are a few questions still nagging the VentureBeat staff. We don’t expect to get answers, but we need to get the questions out there anyway.

1. What happens to Yahoo BOSS? Yahoo’s press release states that “The agreement does not cover each company’s Web properties and products, email, instant messaging, display advertising, or any other aspect of the companies’ businesses. In those areas, the companies will continue to compete vigorously.” It seems like Yahoo is saying that Microsoft will only serve the Internet search engine and provide ads against those search results. But what about Yahoo’s BOSS search API? Will it be replaced by a Bing API? Are there smaller companies dependent on BOSS that will now get unplugged? That seems likely, but we haven’t been able to get a statement from the company yet. Read/Write Web editor Marshall Kirkpatrick suggests that Yahoo provide a walkthrough of all its search-related services and explain what will happen to each.

2. How will Yahoo and Microsoft cooperate and compete at the same time? It’s easy to say the two companies will “continue to compete vigorously.” But what happens when the employees doing the actual competing recognize ways they could win against each other by messing with the cooperative search deal? You’d be a failure as a product manager if you didn’t push to use Microsoft’s enormous Yahoo search engine traffic to boost your product or service’s adoption and usage.

3. What’s Yahoo’s core competency now? Having abandoned search, what does Yahoo have left? The name of the company’s mobile app is Yahoo OneSearch. Will Yahoo still focus it products and services around search and gloss over the fact that Microsoft is handling the actual search and any ads served against it? That seems like the only viable option. Without search, Yahoo is a bunch of websites that don’t tie together.

[Image from Conspiracy Culture]