Microsoft, in its latest attempt to combat the search dominance of Google, on Wednesday announced Live Search Cashback, a program in which users receive ad-funded rebates each time they buy a product from one of 700 or so merchants that Microsoft has signed up so far, a list that includes eBay, Barnes & Noble.com, Overstock.com, Sears, and Zappos.com
In the program, merchants pay Microsoft, and once a customer's account reaches $5, Microsoft sends them a rebate via check, bank deposit, or PayPal.
"For the consumers who use our engine, we believe [rebates] will give them a clear incentive to choose Live Search for their shopping related searches," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to ChannelWeb.
Live Search Cashback is built from the technology and partnerships Microsoft picked up in its October 2007 acquisition of comparison shopping Website Jellyfish.
Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking Wednesday at the opening of an R&D center in Israel, told Reuters that Microsoft is no longer looking to buy Yahoo, the number two search player.
Ballmer did leave the door open to other, unspecified types of deals that wouldn't constitute an actual acquisition, a statement that's in line with recent speculation that Microsoft may be looking to buy Yahoo's search business.
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