EU Seeks Answers From Microsoft About Yahoo Plans

Microsoft has been tight-lipped about the probe, but the Redmond, Wash.-based company is in informal discussions with the EU, according to a report from Reuters.

"As we said when the agreement was announced, we anticipated that this deal will be closely reviewed in the U.S. and EU, and discussions in both geographies continue," Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans told Reuters. "We remain hopeful the deal will close in early 2010."

The EU wants more details about the proposed deal between Microsoft and Yahoo, which was announced in July. The agreement calls for the companies to combine their search platforms. Under terms of the deal, Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10-year license to use Yahoo search technologies.

Microsoft's Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo sites, while Yahoo will continue to use its technology and data in other areas of its business such as display advertising.

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"Providing a viable alternative to advertisers, this deal will combine Yahoo and Microsoft search marketplaces so that advertisers no longer have to rely on one company that dominates more than 70 percent of all search," Microsoft said in a statement at the time the deal was announced.

Recent figures from research firm comScore showed that Google sites had a 65 percent share of searches in the U.S. core search market, compared to 28 percent for Yahoo and Microsoft combined.

"The recently announced search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo certainly makes the combined entity a more formidable competitor to Google in the US. search marketplace," said Eli Goodman of comScore, in a statement at the time. "While they are still looking up at Google in terms of market share, they have a real opportunity to make headway given that nearly three-quarters of all searchers conduct at least one search on these engines every month."

The U.S. Justice Department has begun its own review of the proposed deal and has until the end of the month to say yea or nay to the deal.